Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cleaning house: the King Funeral

We’ve got a little catching up to do on some stories that have fallen through the cracks of our personal busyness and ended up on the sticky, seldom-cleaned floor of unaddressed political issues.  Fortunately, we’ve got our paper towels of truth and the pine-scented cleanser of insight handy (not the mention the copious bucket of extended, useless metaphor) and we’re about to go to work.

The first thing we wanted to mention is the backlash from the funeral of Coretta Scott King.  This will be sure to elicit the snarky from many of our readers – but that’s how we roll.

Some people are all up in arms because some political figures, notably Jimmy Carter and Rev. Joseph Lowery, chose to make political remarks.  To that we have the following thoughts to offer.

Coretta Scott King was a political figure herself; her life and her life’s work was irrevocably intertwined with politics.  Her politics, and those of her many professional and personal friends, were progressive.  And yet, some people don’t believe that talking about Mrs. King’s life’s work is appropriate at a funeral.  Why not?

We didn’t see any members of Mrs. King’s family complaining.  Indeed, the only people complaining are the political figures whose ideology was roundly criticized and their supporters.  What’s the matter guys – can’t take a little heat without crying to Mommy?

It goes without saying that the bitch ‘n’ moan squad here are conservative Republicans, and it’s absolutely hilarious that by accusing Carter and Lowery of politicizing Mrs. King’s funeral, they are doing the lion’s share of the politicizing.  That’s a side issue though.  The real point here is that conservatives can’t stomach the fact that people disagree with them, often loudly, often vehemently.  Unfortunately, that’s a factor that they’re going to have to deal with more and more often.

The fact is, a small minority people out there have their panties in a wad because their dear leader had to sit uncomfortably on stage while others stood in front of him and said, “Your policies, your ideology, you worldview, is anathema to everything that Coretta Scott King stood for.”  So what?  Is George W. Bush so delicate that he has to be insulated from honest opposition?  We’ve always kind of thought that politicians should stand by their records, and Bush’s record runs counter to the things that Mrs. King worked for.

Now as to the biggest complaint – that politics has no place at a funeral – we call shenanigans.  Would you avoid talking about music at John Lennon’s funeral, or writing at Hunter S. Thompson’s?  (We’re not sure if the good doctor actually had a funeral, but you get our point.)  Of course you wouldn’t.  But hey, if you object to the tone of Mrs. King’s funeral, or Paul Wellstone’s memorial service there are two things you can do.  Don’t go to funerals where you might hear something that smacks of politics, and make whatever arrangements you feel are necessary to keep the politics out of your own memorial.  

And until then, just shut up and stop whining.


Ned said...

Sticks and stones my break my bones but names will never hurt me - unless those words call Bush on his bullshit at which point I become very offended.

Bush has a 2% approval rating among black people - he shouldn't be surprised when he goes to the funeral of a civil rights leader to be put in his place by people who are all to aware of how this administration treats black people. Bush may have had to hear some words he didn't want to hear(Otherwise he probably would have walked out of there thinking that black people do like them and he has done a lot to help them), but the less fortunate in this country have suffered because of Bush's actions - not just his words.

Anytime someone says something in front of Bush that he doesn't agree with you have a ton of Bush supporters come out of the woodwork and talk about how offensive it is to the President and how the we should have more respect for the President, but it is quite obvious that Bush has little respect for people who don't agree with his personal views.

If you want the President to command more respect, let him earn it. But as far as I can tell, he hasn't done shit to earn respect from those who were paying respect to Coretta Scott King. If Bush's feelings got hurt from what was said, he probably deserved that too.

Of course, how much respect for the sitting President did Bush supporters have in 1992-2000?

I'm a Realist said...

...he shouldn't be surprised when he goes to the funeral of a civil rights leader to be put in his place by people who are all to aware of how this administration treats black people.

How, exactly, does this administration treat black people? Specific examples of mistreatment would be helpful to persuade me that this administration has treated black people differently from any prior administration.

Publius said...

Good points, more succinct than I was, but in the interests of fairness let me just point out that the 2% approval rating among African-Americans was immediately after Katrina, and Bush has since "rallied" in the low double digits (if memory serves, he's back in the teens among AAs now.)

Doesn't detract one iota from what you said, Ned. I just wanted to clarify that before the GOP minions start jumping your shit for using dated information.

Wait, wait, I meant to say, George Bush's approval rating among African Americans has increased more than five times over in just a few short months!!!

hillary said...

How, exactly, does this administration treat black people?

What? I gotta be quoting Kanye again?

I'm a Realist said...

Yes. I must be ignorant. What policies has this administration enacted that have been anti-blacks?

Dawg Corleone said...

The political point is: middle America sees these things (the Wellstone "funeral" and Corettapolooza) and concludes that Democrats don't know how to behave themselves and probably weren't raised properly.

Personally, as a Republican, I'd like to see a Democratic funeral once a week between now and November. We'd win all 435 House seats.

But hey, it's a free country: party on, dudes.

Ned said...

3 comments and it is a palooza now? Amazing!

If this whole story wasn't picked up by Drudge, Hannity, O'Reilly and the like none of you Republicans would have even noticed.

If you want to be outraged, that is fine. But don't act like it is genuine outrage when someone else had to inform you about 3 small things said over hours and hours of eulogies about Coretta Scott King.

As far as Democrats not being raised properly - it is the Republicans who act like children whenever anyone says anything bad about their dear leader. Bush is an adult and doesn't need a bunch of mindless drones to tell us that his feelings are getting hurt and we are disrespecting him.

Again, this is a bunch of people getting riled up over words when there are plenty of actions that this administration has taken that should be provoking a lot more outrage.

I'm a Realist said...

Will my question go unanswered?

Dawg Corleone said...

No one had to tell me. I watched it. I'm grown and capable of forming my own opinions, thank you. In my opinion, Bush was eloquent and gracious; Clinton (Bill) was classy and appropriate; Carter and Lowery were selfish, bitter jerks.

But, as I say, keep it up. I swear, I half believe Karl Rove wrote Carter's funereal remarks.

You guys keep walking into it--you can't help yourselves--and then you marvel when the voters open a can of whup ass on you.

Ned said...

Bush opposed affirmative action in Michigan, hasn't bothered to speak before the NAACP(the first president in recent history to do so), continues to allow harsher penalties in the War on Drugs for crack compared to cocaine when they are essentially the same thing except white people inhale cocaine and black people smoke crack, but the penalty for getting caught with 1 gram of crack is 100 times the penalty for 1 gram of cocaine.

The Katrina didn't do anything to improve his standing with black people and was very negligent. The medicare and education programs that were just cut are going to hurt black people quite a bit. The war on terror is mainly fought by soldiers from poor income families - lots of black folk are dying in Iraq.

I know you are going to argue that Bush didn't do anything to harm black people on purpose, but we are just playing semantics here. I think that Kanye West was right - Bush doesn't care about black people and is going to minimize his association with them. He may not be the one pushing them down, but he is more than happy to walk on by and look the other way when it is obvious they could use a little help up.

But hey - look at all Bush has done for rich white people!!!

Dawg Corleone said...

W doesn't like associating himself with black people?

I guess Condi and Colin didn't get the memo.

Publius said...

Haven't seen Gen. Powell lately...is he in an undisclosed location or something?

Publius said...

Ouch. I don't know if I'd a told that one.

Publius said...

Comment from 3:20 pm directed at DiDDY.

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Coughtokenscough....excuse me...all better now.

Dawg Corleone said...


So, blacks in a Republican administration are tokens.

And I'm the racist in this conversation?

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Methinks thou doth protest too much. Nobody in this conversation had called you a racist.

If you don't think Condi and Powell were political posturing, you're crazy. It certainly wasn't to receive actual policy input, or else we probably wouldn't be in Iraq right now.

But I honestly don't think Bush is a racist, I just think he doesn't care about poor people, and since poor people are disproportionately black, he by extension doesn't care so much about a lot of black people.

I'm a Realist said...

I want to start with this disclaimer: I am not pro-Bush. Frankly, I think he has fumbled and bumbled his way into screwing up the few things that laymen would have gotten right. I disagree with some of his policies, and I agree with some of his policies. My remarks that follow have nothing to do with my political affiliation or my own voting conscience.

1) Opposed affirmative action in Michigan.

I, too, oppose affirmative action. I feel that it is a racist policy that is only in place to benefit blacks. My beef isn't with the additional aid to African-Americans, but with the idea that every other minority group is marginalized with whites in the name of "equality" for blacks. If each minority benefited equally, I might reconsider my position, but as of now, affirmative action primarily benefits African-Americans (as it was set up to do).

2) Hasn't bothered to speak before the NAACP.

After seeing how he was castigated at a funeral, do you blame him? Why should he seek out audiences that will not agree with anything he has to say regardless of the content of his message? Bill freakin' Cosby was cast as an Uncle Tom for suggesting that African-Americans include getting an education in their culture. Bush has nothing to gain by giving the NAACP a courtesy speech.

3) Harsher penalties for crack than cocaine.

This I find borderline ridiculous.

"While a majority of crack users in the United States are white, 94 percent of those sentenced under the incomparably severe penalties for crack cocaine are black or Hispanic. Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Justice on Trial: Racial Disparities in the American Criminal Justice System 30 (2000); United States Sentencing Commission, 1999 Sourcebook of Federal Sentencing Statistics 69." - http://www.cocaineaddictiondrugrehab.com/crack-cocaine-laws.htm

Notice the dates of the research. This was instituted prior to Bush's regime. Whether he supports it is irrelevant. I support stiffer penalties for hardcore drug use. The only proposals for equalizing the sentencing are for reducing the penalties for crack. I disagree with this on its face, although I would entertain thoughts of legalizing all drugs.

4) Katrina

This is a big bundle of racist propaganda. The majority of people impacted by Hurricane Katrina were white. How do I know this? The majority of the population of the impacted areas is white. There is this myth that only New Orleans was affected. In reality southern Mississippi and Alabama were also quite affected. FEMA began their response the same way they respond to hurricane disasters in South Carolina and Florida...throw some money at the destruction to see if that fixes it.

Katrina was a whole different problem that no administration had prepared for. Victims were stranded in their homes by the flood waters. We hadn't had a situation where emergency evacuations were needed in the wake of a hurricane, so FEMA wasn't prepared. If you believe the government has the answer for all of your ills, then this news is disheartening. If you believe the government is a bunch of screwups, then this news comes as no surprise.

As far as blacks being disproportionately affected, it is true that the majority of those needing rescue were black. It is also true that the majority of those needing rescue were in a low-income bracket. I feel certain in the assumption that affluent New Orleans residents - both black and white - were able to evacuate and find suitable shelter. I also feel certain that lower-income families - both black and white - were unable to find adequate shelter due to transportation needs or just a lack of money. Therefore, I would argue that Katrina's impact isn't a race thing, but instead a socio-economic class thing.

5) Medicare and Education cuts will hurt black people.

Again, socio-economic factors...not race. All poor people will be affected by the medicare cuts, not just blacks. Same way with education.

6) Military is made up of poor blacks.

This is false. [insert snarky remark here]. Here's some reading material for the next time you are on the toilet:


The majority of the force is middle-class. Few recruits are coming from urban areas, and beyond that, the percentage of servicemen and women are basically representative of the American civilian population.

7) Bush doesn't care about blacks.

This may be true. It may not be. You can't prove it one way or the other. The only person that knows is Bush himself. You can't really pinpoint specifics that signify his racism, but he's rich, white, male, from Texas, and a Republican...so through the timeless virtue of stereotypes...he must be racist!

Thank you and good night. It's been fun.

Jmac said...

I don't think Condi and Powell are tokens by any means. They are both incredibly qualified individuals who filled their seats. But, there is a PR issue at work here - and both Republicans and Democrats take advantage of said PR. How many times during the Supreme Court nominations did we hear the name 'Alberto Gonzalez' followed by something to the extent of 'would give Bush a credible and qualified Hispanic on the court.' Both parties misuse the minority vote and attempt to cover their failures in the policy realm by appointing (qualified) minority candidates to high-ranking positions.

Both Clinton and Bush have repeatedly touted the number of women and minorities they have appointed to positions of power. All who were appointed deserved to be there, but they didn't deserve to be paraded around as 'the black candidate' or the Hispanic candidate' ... they should have been paraded around as 'the most deserving candidate.'

With regard to the actual comments ... I think Lowery went a bit over the top, but I don't think Carter was out of line at all. It's just the typical GOP pile-it-on-Jimmy fare. The man stated the obvious - that Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King were the subjects of domestic spying. You can infer whatever you want from it, but that's an undeniable fact. The Kings were wiretapped - by, perhaps, the most progressive Democratic administration with regard to civil rights in history - and that's an important aspect to understand about their life. The fact it parallels a controversial issue right now is part of why it was stated.

And we forget - as, I'm assuming, mostly white folks who blog here - the church is the political center for African-Americans, particularly in the 1960s. To speak on political matters from the pulpit is perfectly natural for African-American leaders. It would have been more shocking for no political criticism or observation or praise to come out of this funeral than to have a handful of comments which, quite frankly, aren't even that controversial emerge from it.

To suggest this singular reason is why Democrats 'keep getting whupped' is silly. Listen, I've got lots of reasons why Democrats have had little success at the polls in recent years, and this ain't one of 'em. If this monolithic 'Middle America' is so outraged by mere political commentary coming from a religious service, then 'Middle America' needs to step off its high horse and take a good long look in the mirror. Because what it's doing is judging a culture they know very little about and basing its votes not on ideology, but on fear.

By the way ... have Republicans completely forgotten about the weeklong festival of conservative love that was the Ronald Reagan funeral? The rewritten history and attacks on liberal ideology were never addressed by any media. But Jimmy Carter states a fact about Coretta Scott King's life, and the GOP flips out?

A little perspective, please.

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Perfectly said, Jmac, all of it. And I apologize if I implied that Condi and Powell were unqualified; that's not true and it's not what I meant.

Dawg Corleone said...

JMac, there are ordered, generally accepted bounds of conduct. If you don't see that a great many people--Republicans and otherwise--agree that Carter and Lowery went beyond those bounds, then, well, physician, heal thyself.

I don't know that many people who were outraged, though. Outrage is the domain of the Democrat. Republicans just sighed and said "there they go again." They really can't help themselves.

So much the better for my side.

Publius said...

To quote the great Lyndon Baines Johnson, "horseshit."

Last time I checked, you're not Emily Post, and neither am I. But I know that the King family didn't have a problem with the tone of the remarks, and I know that the vast majority of the attendees didn't have a problem either.

In fact, the only people who do seem to have a problem are a handful of hardcore conservatives, most of whom, to my knowledge, weren't even there.

The big underlying issue here is this radical minority of conservatives who, as they do in most cases, think that they should be the final arbiters of how people should act. Again, horseshit.

Jeez, and you guys call us the thought police. Mostly though, the GOP just has their panties in a wad because the President got his bell rung on tv.

What's really unfortunate about all of this is that the legacy of Coretta Scott King should have been the story after the funeral. Regrettably, the GOP was smart enough to realize that talking about Mrs. King's legacy makes their legacy look pretty shoddy by comparison, hence this completely manufactured hue and cry by a bunch of spoiled brats who weren't even invited, for the most part.

Jmac said...

There are bounds of conduct which vary from society to society, culture to culture. As I pointed out, for years the church was the center of the African-American political landscape - and it still is to a large extent today. So expressing political criticism, even at a funeral, is acceptable to those who made up the vast majority of audience.

And, again, we're not talking about particularly inflammatory language here. If this was a critique of the Wellstone funeral - which I, as a fairly liberal individual, found to be well over the top - I could see your point.

Plus, Publius makes an excellent point - has the King family expressed their outrage? If they were offended by the criticisms of Carter and Lowery, that would be one thing. But for individuals who weren't there and don't share the same worldview and/or ideology to claim the higher ground is puzzling to me.

monticello_pres said...

I believe "I'm a realist" just spent more time researching one comment than any in the young history of blogging. Well done, sir.

As I have observed, more African Americans and Hispanic Americans have earned their way into D.C. leadership during the Bush administration than in any prior President. This administration is more open than Clinton's (save a few young, chubby interns), yet Billy J. C. played sax on Arsenio's show and lives immortal.

Bottom line, Lowery has no qualifications and Carter was the Presidential equivolent to Milli Vanilli. And both crossed the lines of decency at a politically opportune time. But who really cares? Really.

You know what I am pissed about? The Bush administration's attack on rich white lawyers! He's got folks in the field shooting them. If that isn't a statement, nothing is.

Ned said...

Bill Shipp is on my side! Hooray!


Jmac said...

I completely missed Realist's comments in midst of my discussion over the appropriateness of political criticism at a religious ceremony - funny how issues worth debating often get shuttled by the wayside for non-issues like appropriate behavior at the funeral of a civil rights leader.

Well-researched, I concur. Some good points, some off target, still it took some time, so kudos for that.

1. I think affirmative action is the most widely misunderstood policy in American politics, and you yourself reveal such a misunderstanding when you state at one turn how you feel it's 'racist' and 'only designed to help blacks' but omit how it benefits all minorities, just not whites. That may upset you and that's a perfectly understandable complaint to have. Still, we're not talking about quotas or mandated slots for companies or colleges to have to fill with only African-Americans. That, indeed, would be showing a racial bias and would be wrong.

However, affirmative action is solely a loose term in which colleges and companies are encouraged to recruit, interview and hire more minority candidates. How best to do so is determined by each individual college or company and each one looks very different. Some do work better than others, that's true, but I think you miss the boat when you say it's 'racist.' If nothing else, if you oppose affirmative action a better argument to make would be that it isn't as effective as it could possibly be, and not because it's racist toward whites.

In a non-objective observation of my own, take a look at the University of Georgia's student body. See the large number of white kids coming from Atlanta? Are we seeing any drop in their enrollment? And how about the African-American enrollment at UGA? Fairly stagnant, isn't it ... with only a few bumps or decreases from year to year. If this policy is so racist, why are more white kids getting to go school each year, while the enrollment for African-American students stays the same, more or less?

2. OK, here's the thing about Bush speaking to the NAACP ... it isn't like he went to the funeral and then decided it wasn't worth it to speak to them. That would be understandably. Rather, he has avoided speaking with them (and other prominent African-American and Hispanic organizations) since arriving into office in 2001. Sure, that's his perogative as the president and if he doesn't want to speak to organizations which are going to disagree with his policies, that's fine. But when you do refuse to address the preeminent African-American civil rights organization in the country (like it or not), you're going to find it difficult to be viewed favorably by them.

3. I don't find this borderline ridiculous - I find the law borderline ridiculous. But, I do agree with your assertion. Bush didn't enact this penalty, so to peg a disdain for him based on this misses the boat.

4. I'm torn over Katrina. I don't think it's a 'big bundle of racist propaganda' as you suggest, but I also don't agree with Kanye West's claim that Bush hates black people. I agree with your assertion that it was more of a socio-economic issue than a race, but there is that nasty perception problem, particularly in Louisiana.

There you've got an inept mayor and an inept governor who are dealing with an inept federal response. Contrast this with Mississippi and Alabama, which suffered severe damage as well, but also received good support from their local and state authorities (again, in comparison with Louisiana).

Part of the shock, I think, on the part of the African-American community stems from the fact the tragedy in New Orleans was unfolding live on TV, and most of those faces were black, yet it seemed that no one had any clue of what to do, how to help them or that they even cared.

One of my primary contentions with the response to Katrina is that our government - since the dawn of the atomic age - supposedly has a plan on how to deal with the large-scale destruction of a region and also oversee and manage a massive evacuation, as well as how to handle a huge population of refugees. One would think this plan was honed even more after 9/11.

Yet, everyone keeps saying 'we just couldn't imagine this.' To that, I say 'hogwash.' Local, state and federal governments dropped the ball, and folks from both parties have to answer for it.

5. Same thing for the cuts - socio-economic factors dictate this (and I've got plenty of problems with that), but the perception remains that this administration cares little about the plight of the poor, of which African-Americans make up a large portion.

6. Interesting piece, but it's the first thing I've seen to suggest the opposite. I've always heard the contrary, that poor blacks - and the poor in general - often enlist in the military to secure training and income. Of course, in war time this is unfortunate, but then again I'm of the mindset of saying that a career in the military isn't a bad thing. We could spread the parity out some more, sure, but the training one obtains in the military is profoundly beneficial.

7. I agree with you, more less. I think Bush does indeed care about African-Americans, but I think a safer statement is that he hasn't shown any interest in starting a dialogue with the vast majority of African-Americans who share different views on policy and ideology and, to some extent, religion than him. Furthermore, he hasn't done much to offer an alternative plan to the traditional Democratic view of using the power of the government to assist those in need. There was some lip-service to helping faith-based agencies, but that hasn't exactly panned out.

Dawg Corleone said...

Re Katrina. Here's what you had. You had an area roughly the size of England, in which there is electricity, no fuel, few if any passable roads, and a near complete breakdown in infrastructure. Communications are spotty, at best.

Devise all the plans you want, that's a tough nut to crack.

The problem is: we were watching this on TV. And Americans seem to believe that if we're watching it on TV, it's supposed to be fixed in an hour.

Hate Bush all you want, this was an extremely difficult job, and rather than being distressed that it wasn't done perfectly, I'm frankly amazed it was done as well as it was.

hillary said...

Kanye West's claim that Bush hates black people

Not hates. "Doesn't care about." World of difference.

Do we want to have the discussion about the difference between racism and prejudice again? I'll agree that affirmative action is (or should be; it's not really in practice) reverse discrimination against whitey, but whitey could _use_ some reverse discrimination. Not poor whitey quite so much, but rich whitey? Sure. Bring it on.

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

And of course poor whitey usually gets some help in the admissions process as well.

Is AA "discrimination" in the pure sense of that word, in that certain individuals are treated differently than other individuals based on a distinguishing characteristic? Yes.

Is AA "discrimination" in the connotation of that word as something insidious or bad, as in the 200 years of segregation that necessitated the policy in the first place? No.

Affirmative action is required today because government took affirmative action to exclude blacks in the past. And to the extent that blacks benefit more than other minorities (although, as Jmac mentioned, other minorities do usually benefit under aa programs as well), this is because they received the brunt of the harmful actions that it is designed to remedy.

Jmac said...

Hate Bush all you want, this was an extremely difficult job, and rather than being distressed that it wasn't done perfectly, I'm frankly amazed it was done as well as it was.

With all due respect, that appears to be a mighty low bar you set there. Again, my main concern is that everyone at all levels of all parties keep saying 'we just never could have imagined this' when, in fact, they had. Since the Soviets first detonated the atomic bomb, our government has been planning for how to deal with a massive catastrophe over a massive region facing the same obstacles you mentioned. The plan wasn't executed because, again, everyone didn't know what to do and because we had ill-equipped people trying to execute it.

Actually, I take that back. Ray Nagin executed his plan prior to Katrina coming ashore almost flawlessly ... it's just that his plan, well, absolutely sucked.

And Hillary's right - I misquoted Kanye (being the big fan she is, she should know) and there is a big difference ... as there is a big difference between racism and prejudice.

Jmac said...

Oh, and one omitted thing on affirmative action.

Why is affirmative action always the one thing trumped out, but not things like legacy systems, when it comes to discussing 'fair' admissions? There are lots of non-academic and non-extracurricular requirements that make up college admissions, but we focus solely on affirmative action. Why is that?

andyrusk said...

Hunter Thompson had his ashes fired out of a cannon at his ranch in Woody Creek, CO. Sadly, I was unable to attend. I owed the man $40. Cest la vie.

gap said...

The people I have seen benefit from affirmitive action have not been poor. Middle and upper class people that I know have used it to their advantage by getting into better schools than their grades and scores would indicate. If someone is a product of a poor public education system and they are admitted to college without the skills necesary to succeed, they are being set up for failure. I have also heard of Universities using a handicap system in their admissions where Asians automaticaly lose points because of their race. What I would like to see are programs that prepare people with inadequite education opportunities to succeed in college as opposed to arbitrary quotas or handicaping.

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Is it wrong of me to point out the irony of inadequate being mispelled in that last sentence? Yeah, probably. Oh well, too late now (God please don't let me make a typo in this post.)

First, there are no "arbitrary quotas" in aa admissions programs; those have specifically been found unconstitutional. Any preference given to African-Americans, or poorer students, or any other group that is traditionally underrepresented, is not arbitrary but rationally based on a historical disadvantage.

I'll agree with you on the importance of preparing students to succeed in college, but I don't see why the two things are mutually exclusive.

gap said...

It's very wrong for you to point out the ireny of my indiquicies. I'm not wholeheartedly against affirmitive action in admissions, it just makes me uneasy. The whole thing seems vaugely patronizing. It's almost as if we are telling black students "you can't make it without our help". My point about setting up unprepared minority students for failure also makes me feel that the system is flawed. And last but not lease, you can't avoid the fact that by admiting middle or upper class minorities who have had the advantage of good school systems, you are displacing other people and not helpling those who are disadvantaged.

I'm a Realist said...

Nice retort, Jmac...truly a worthy adversary.

There are a few statements that need clarification:

1) ...this administration cares little about the plight of the poor, of which African-Americans make up a large portion.

A large portion of African-Americans may be poor (or below the poverty line if you'd rather), but in the grand scheme of things, they represent a minor portion of the number of individuals living in poverty or on welfare, etc. To claim that someone "doesn't care about" a particular race because of policies that affect a certain socio-economic segment of society is a reach at best. That was my point. Any policy that benefits the rich is for whites and any policy that hurts the poor is against blacks. This is oversimplification at its best.

2) I'll agree that affirmative action is (or should be; it's not really in practice) reverse discrimination against whitey, but whitey could _use_ some reverse discrimination. Not poor whitey quite so much, but rich whitey? Sure. Bring it on.

Does a despicable evil become acceptable if it aids a subset of the populace you deem worthy? Isn't that how we (and by we, I mean people who were around long before myself) rationalized the actions that caused "the brunt of the harmful actions that [affirmative action] is designed to remedy"? Evil is acceptable if it is in your favor, right? That's the American way...

3) RE: Evacuation plans.

The evacuation plan for a city that has been attacked by atomic weapons is drastically different from one that has been beseiged by floodwaters in all directions. The city infrastructure of NOLA failed, so the evac plan was scraped together at best. If we had "ill-equipped people trying to execute" the plan, then it seems farcical to blame the lack of response on the perceived discriminatory practices of the present administration, right? FEMA may have been inept, but to blame race...and then to blame the President is far-fetched.

Anyway...good opinions.

hillary said...

Does a despicable evil become acceptable if it aids a subset of the populace you deem worthy? Isn't that how we (and by we, I mean people who were around long before myself) rationalized the actions that caused "the brunt of the harmful actions that [affirmative action] is designed to remedy"? Evil is acceptable if it is in your favor, right? That's the American way...

While I see your point, I really wouldn't go this far. Is it really as evil to discriminate against those who are disadvantaged to begin with as it is to handicap those who already had a head start? It's really not as simple as "discrimination = bad." And can we try not to throw the word "evil" around willy-nilly? It tends to erase distinctions (no one really likes to talk about gradations of evil--except Dante).

I'm a Realist said...

It's really not as simple as "discrimination = bad."

I beg to differ. Using something out of one's control (i.e. race, age, gender, etc.) to make distinctions and then act in favor of or in detriment to another based on those distinctions must be wrong. If this isn't absolute, then rationalizations can be made in favor of any discrimination ...(short people have no reason to live).

As far as gradations...it's not like you can discriminate in moderation. To be opposed to any discrimination is to be opposed to all discrimination. Anything short is purely hypocritical.

And I will refrain from using "evil."

hillary said...

Aren't you the realist?

I'm a Realist said...


Jmac said...

short people have no reason to live

As a short person, let's do our best to make sure this never happens.