July 27, 2007

The first two rules of holes

Finally, award-winning Professor Ric Caric — who days ago deigned to drop by and discourse on how it is that I’m some kind of super-racist (given my sly proclivity for legitimizing the views of unreconstructed racists, if only by nature of the people my political policy recommendations attract) — responds to at least one of my challenges, offering the beginnings of an argument in support of the “color-blind racism” trope that Stanley Fish, among others, popularized a decade and a half ago.

I’m going to repost Caric’s response — he doesn’t respond here, naturally — along with my rejoinders.

Reply to That Really Cool Guy Jeff Goldstein, Part I
INTRODUCTION. I was hurt–hurt–by Jeff Goldstein’s reply to me last night. He seems to think that I believe him an unreconstructed racial bigot like the guys who murdered and mutilated Emmett Till or the white townspeople pictured celebrating the latest lynchings. Or maybe he believes that I think he follows Ann Coulter’s indulgence in racial stereotypes and anti-black cheerleading.

But that’s not true at all. How can I think that after I’ve seen all the testimonials to Goldstein’s wit and really cool guyness? Tonight’s hymn of praise was from John Cole of Balloon-juice.com: “. . . the best blog in the world is now back after a lengthy hiatus.” And didn’t somebody refer to Goldstein as the “funniest guy on the internet” last night? Humble as well.

Who am I to disagree? Goldstein’s Protein Wisdom is funny, ironic, intellectual, and upscale all at the same time–kind of like the internet version of Fox’s big hit “Gutfeld and Friends.” I sum all that up with the term “The Fluff Right” which I of course mean as a term of endearment. Goldstein is such a Really Cool Guy he couldn’t be a racist.

Three paragraphs, no substance — thought that doesn’t mean Caric isn’t working. Rhetorically, what he’s is trying to do, in his opening three paragraphs, is frame both the combatants and the debate. Unsurprisingly, Caric sets himself up as the bemused and slightly put upon professor-hero who has been compelled by circumstances (presented as nearly beyond his control) to answer criticisms by someone who affects a pretense of hipness, but who, Caric intimates, is rather an annoying lightweight, and not really worth much of his valuable time.

After all, intertextually, we now know that for Caric, blogging is but a “hobby,” and he likes to keep his academic writing separate from his activism.

I’d add that he appears to like keeping his thinking separate from his blogging, as well, but that would be ungracious of me.

And any rate, Caric’s framing — like so much else we’ve read from him — is not only disingenuous and self-serving, but it is also easily undercut by any quick look at our exchanges. Which, I suppose, is why Caric chose to create a separate space for the debate — one that he hopes will bracket out the actual history of our encounters, replacing it with this newly framed simulacrum of that history.

But let’s be honest: It was only after Caric leveled his accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., against me that I challenged him to argue his positions in more detail. Because from where I stood, all that Professor Caric had done was cobble together a list of stale assertions that he then whisked together with a huge dollop of self-righteousness and several cups of smug self-satisfaction to form the kind of rhetorical tar that fits perfectly onto an extra broad brush.

Quickly, Caric’s positions, made into a kind of handy ideological theorem: conservatives are a cancer on the body politic; everyone who supports a few key particular policy positions (the Iraq war; an end to race-based affirmative action; an opposition to same-sex “marriage” — though not to civil unions with state benefits) is a “conservative”; cancer is bad; conservatives, therefore, are bad.

Simple, really. But as you can see, really nothing more than several assertions that track backward from a central, unproven premise. Which is why I challenged Dr Caric to debate the merits of his positions, or to attack the merits of mine.

Back to the professor’s response:

And besides Protein Wisdom practically held a parade for me a couple of days ago. Even last night, my name and affiliation were featured at the top of Goldstein’s reply post. You just can’t buy publicity like that.

Another paragraph, still no substance. Just a further attempt to frame the debate: affecting ironic bemusement, Caric attempts to suggest that my having paid him some attention is, at once, favorable in terms of publicity (something I’d dispute, given his performance thus far; your mileage may vary, timmy), and all so much ado! He is but a humble professor with a hobby blog. Why, pray tell, should so much attention be paid him? Is it his prodigious intellect that attacks the conservative moths to his fiery brilliance? His ability to deftly fend off the strained advances of his “weenie boy” opponents — even as he takes in a fine Kurosawa double feature?

Why, Ric can’t quite sure — though we’re left with the impression he feels it’s some combination of all those things.

Humbly, of course.

But the truth is, Caric himself is useful only as an example of a type we’ve come across here rather too frequently — the progressive professor who, for reasons one can hardly begin to imagine, is eager to place on display his own bigotries, biases, and anti-intellectual posturings.

He is, for better or worse, an example of just how impervious to substantive criticism many academics feel, having surrounded themselves with like-minded ideological fellow-travelers, and then — once entrenched in their departments and protected by the self-selection of the hiring committees they form — have taken to systematically redefining the parameters for what comes to count as academic “thinking.”

The rest is just “hate speech” relegated to “free speech zones,” lacrosse parties, and Campus Republican meetings.

For my part, I find it instructive to point to such creatures — much like I once pointed to monkeys at the Baltimore Zoo and noted how, if you squinted just so, they almost seemed just like us. Having left the academy myself — and having become increasingly disappointed with its growing anti-intellectualism (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) — I feel like I have a responsibility to shine a light onto its substance, which is generally hidden behind slick marketing brochures, fine brick buildings, and the carefully staged “diversity” of the student body.

But enough of my reasoning for wanting to draw Caric out; after all, I explained why I wished to do so earlier, and if Caric was unwilling to acknowledge my express intentions then, I have no reason to think he’d do so even were I to explain it to him a thousand more times. Instead, he’ll simply repeat the same “re-imaginings” of my intentions — presented in hamfisted musings and faux-solicitousness — without ever letting the points of fact puncture his rhetorical bubble.

So. How about some meat, Dr Ric?

Of course, I guess one could think me ungrateful for referring to Jeff’s “color-blind” ideology as being worse than crude racism. But let me see if I can make my case again at much greater length and detail.

Really, the whole issue revolves around oppression. So, I want to discuss oppression at some length both during the civil rights era and today. My argument will be that “color-blind” rhetoric functions as a rationalization for contemporary racial oppression and the refusal to develop remedies for racial oppression.

Finally!

But, first, I want to discuss segregation at some length.

Oh. This must be the “context” we knuckledragging proles / sinister oppressors will need to understand Caric’s argument (which, as I noted in an earlier post, is an argument of such vintage that, had it knocked up another argument when if first became famous, it would today be proud papa to a teenaged argument readying itself for a driver’s license).

But please, do thrall us, professor:

SEGREGATION AND OPPRESSION. In “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” MLK wrote in the context of his discussion of civil disobedience that “[w]e know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” For King, white people are “the oppressor” and blacks are the “oppressed” who are demanding freedom. He follows up with an detailed account of the ways whites oppressed blacks–the lynching and drowning of black people, police beatings, the “airtight cage of poverty” blacks lived in, the refusal of services at hotels, restaurants, the segregated drinking fountains and bathrooms, and the personal humilitations of never being addressed with a title of respect like “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Needless to say, such a recitation is far from doing justice to the poetry of King’s writing and the way that he brought the violence and moral sickness of segregation home to his readers in one of the great sentences of American writing.

True. It also doesn’t prognosticate: which is to say, what King wrote in his letter to fellow clergymen in advance of the the Civil Rights Act is a tremendously effective rhetorical broadside against the civil rights abuses Dr King was fighting in 1963. What it is not, however, is a carved tablet revealing how race relations will always be — particularly after 44 years of governmental attempts to ameliorate past injustices.

So while yes, the piece remains poignant — and while it in many ways serves as a constant reminder of what we, as a society need to guard against — acknowledging poignancy and social relevance is far different than pretending that Dr King’s decades-old letter is a revealed text to be taken as scripture by the Church of the Always Well-Meaning Liberal Democrat.

King also emphasized the enormous psychological and spiritual damage inflicted by segregation, lamenting the “ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in [his daughter’s] little mental sky,” and the “inner fears and outer resentments” and “degenerating sense of nobodiness plaguing adults.” If segregation was a moral sickness of white people (King referred to whites as living in “the dark depths of prejudice and racism”), it worked to distort the personalities and maim the souls of blacks as well.

That’s an enormous and pivotal (though rather quietly introduced) “if.” I’m certain that a desire to see enforced governmental segregation was a moral sickness of some white people, but let’s not forget that there were whites who marched along with Dr King, whites who fought for the abolition of slavery, whites who protested Jim Crow, whites who refused to accept the moral sickness of enforced governmental segregation — and they did so, presumably, because they found it morally or legally problematic that a government would presume to separate people on the basis of skin color. Content of one’s character, not the color of one’s skin and all that nonsense, you see.

Or, to put it another way, both these whites, and the Blacks who followed Dr King, were appalled at the kind of state-sanctioned race consciousness (growing first from slavery, then from “one drop rule,” Jim Crow laws, and other racialist legislation) that, to borrow Dr Caric’s formulation, gave “cover” or lent legitimacy to segregation.

Of course, there are other complexities at work here, as well — from federalism to the right of free assembly — that, taken together, complicated certain legal questions regarding when and how the federal government could act in the role of social engineers, and when they instead were directed, constitutionally, to to lay back and allow cultural perceptions to change, and the marketplace of ideas (counted among which are the shames that attached themselves to racial intolerance) to affect a shift in cultural attitudes.

The professor’s summary of King’s position — “If segregation was a moral sickness of white people (King referred to whites as living in “the dark depths of prejudice and racism”), it worked to distort the personalities and maim the souls of blacks as well” — is therefore a gross oversimplification, one that intentionally obscures King’s motives by misidentifying Kings allies and enemies. And it is an oversimplification that Caric and his ideological fellow-travelers use to to re-segregate whites and blacks on the basis of skin color — though they are careful to reframe that segregation as based on power-relations. Whereas, for Dr King, skin color was merely shorthand for the peculiar beliefs of the segregationists of his time. To wit, King used “Negroes” and “whites” because it spoke to the stark contrasts between the “races” King wished to see legally obliterated. Today, people like Caric use those designations to maintain stark contrasts and actually prevent the very obliteration of legal difference King was striving for.

Jeff Goldstein seems to believe that my reference to racial oppression is a matter of “white guilt.” I’m surprised that a cool guy like Jeff wouldn’t think that sensitivity to oppression would be a matter of empathy, of reading materials like “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and thinking about what he would think or feel if he had been subject to the physical and psychological violence of American racial segregation. Or why he wouldn’t be disgusted, repulsed, or nauseated by what whites were doing. Or why he wouldn’t deny that he was white and start thinking of himself strictly as an individual. “Guilt” would seem to be a refuge for the over-wrought here.

Sensitivity to oppression is a matter of empathy. But the oppression has first to be shown to exist before I rush to empathize. All Caric does is show that such oppression once existed — a claim that no one here, least of all me, disputes. So yes, I can read “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (in fact, I taught the essay for years in classes on rhetoric and persuasion) and imagine what I would think or feel had I been “subject to the physical and psychological violence of American racial segregation.” But my imagining it — and even empathizing with it — is not the same as experiencing it, and in fact, by claiming that I can practically feel that oppression through King’s words, I am cheapening the suffering of those who actually did experience it. At the end of the day, I can put the essay away and go on about my business. Whereas at the end of the day in 1963, some southern white Democratic sheriff might loose some dogs on me, or strike me repeatedly with a club after soaking me with a fire hose.

Caric — rather predictably — goes for the emotional appeal here, and from there attempts to claim a moral high ground. But there is nothing necessarily moral about being sensitive to imagined oppression — and in fact, I would argue that when sensitivity to a social phantom leads to agitating for policies that lead to actual discriminatory practices, then the sensitivity to which Caric clings like a medal is in fact wrong-headed and immoral.

Caric writes: “I’m surprised that a cool guy like Jeff wouldn’t […] be disgusted, repulsed, or nauseated by what whites were doing. Or why he wouldn’t deny that he was white and start thinking of himself strictly as an individual.” To which the easy response is, I’m NOT surprised Caric would put forth such assertions with no evidence whatever to back them up, but then, that’s because I’m becoming increasingly familiar with his method of argumentation.

The fact is, I am of course repulsed by what some whites were doing. Similarly, I am heartened by what other whites were doing to combat the bigotry of those whites who remained committed to legalized segregation.

But note that we’re talking here about how I feel now about what happened in 1963. Does Dr Caric really expect us to believe we’re still living in that same racial climate? Someone should inform Dr Ric that just because you can buy “The Outer Limits” on DVD doesn’t mean that every time you watch an episode, you’re actually in 1963 all over again.

And of course, I don’t deny that I’m “white” by certain strained empirical standards and certain conventional descriptors. But so what? Acknowledging that racial categorizations exist and have existed is not the same thing as arguing that they should exist, or should be used to set certain social policies. And in fact, I have consistently argued that, inasmuch as they are based on bad science, they should have been relegated to usage for nothing other than bookkeeping years ago (this is, incidentally, one of the uses for race that Kennedy notes in his recent concurrence, the significance of which I’ve written about here).

I linked all these arguments in my last response to Caric. So at this point, I can only assume that his mis-characterizations of my positions are either intentional, or else he really is as dim as his arguments make him appear.

Bottom line: I simply deny that “what whites were doing” in 1963 has anything at all to do with what whites must necessarily be doing today, because “whites” is simply a convenient way to group disparate individuals who share nothing essential but a (lack of) pigmentation. Surely Caric’s obvious contraction — this ludicrous feint to the transitive property of equality — is not the kernel belief that drives his worldview. Because such utter simplicity — based around a view that skin color acts as a sort of decisive connective tissue between generations, when it comes to establishing individual identity — cannot possibly be a position held in earnest by a person who teaches “Comparative Racial Thought.” Unless, of course, Caric commits to bringing in guest speakers, I suppose.

His formulation, shorn of its emotional trappings, goes like this: sensitivity to oppression is a matter of empathy, and thus, a virtue; one can empathize with the oppressed, having vicariously experienced their oppression (in this case, through reading Dr King); having vicariously experienced that oppression, one is committed to feeling disgust; and because one happens to resemble — in pigmentation — those who at one point in time were the cause of that suffering and oppression, one must necessarily take responsibility for the actions of those who resembled him; only after one has embraced one’s “identity” can one lay claim to being an individual.

This last part is, of course, absurd: after all, why would Professor Caric have us take possession of the historical attitudes of “whites” who supported segregation and not of those who fought against it? Or were the whites who fought against segregation somehow “Black” for having identified with the oppressed group? The calculus, you have to admit, is quite tricky, if not completely arbitrary.

For Dr Caric, that is. For my part, I don’t run into those kinds of problems because I don’t subscribe to such magical, phenomenalogical leaps: I am not joined to southern white Democratic segregationalists of the 60s — or paleocon Republican white supremacists today — simply because I happen to look outwardly like I could belong to their group, and so could share their beliefs.

Call it “passing.”

For his part, Caric feels the need to turn his “empathy” into political activism because he identifies as white. He claims it is overwrought for me to point out that he seems to be acting out of guilt. And perhaps he’s right.

But you have to admit, when you watch someone engaging daily in acts of public contrition for sins that belong to others, it is fair to conclude that they either have a Jesus complex, or else they truly believe that they are guilty. The trick, for Caric, is to paint such a combination of hubris and faux-humility as a virtue worthy of emulation — and further, to condemn all those who fail to follow suit.

Continues Caric:

Of course, it might not be “funny, ironic, intellectual, and upscale” to be emphatic to those who are suffering oppression. If that’s the case, I might not have any of those qualities because I can say in good conscience that I would have been so pissed off about segregation if I was a black guy that I probably would have done something to get myself killed. But who knows, maybe Jeff would have been happy with segregation if he had been a black guy and I’m sure he could find some black people who were pleased with their lives under segregation if he looked. King even refers to “Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self-respect and a sense of “somebodiness” that they have adjusted to segregation.”

In case Dr Ric has lost you on his rush to turn me into an Uncle Tom, rhetorically, he sets it up this way: having determined, with no evidence (and by mere assertion) that I am unsympathetic to the oppression of those who are oppressed (and let’s avoid, for the time being, any talk of the middle east and how that plays into this battle of empaths), Caric then strains to tie the tone of some of my blog posts to that same unsympathetic part of my nature that prevents me from feeling for the oppressed quite so strongly as does he. In short, my moral worth is determined and subsequently betrayed by the tone of some of my blog posts — whereas Ric? Well, he just blogs “as a hobby.” SO HOW DARE YOU JUDGE HIS WORDS!

From there, Caric takes wing on a bizarre flight of fancy, speculating that, had I been a Black man in, say, 1956, I’d be content with my oppression — that, while he would take his condition seriously and die fighting for his freedom, I’d go find a group of likeminded blacks and, with any luck, become their leader. Kind of an Al Sharpton type, say.
Because, you see, it is only those who are most ostentatious about their suffering who can truly be said to be suffering. The rest? They probably enjoy it.

A reminder: if you’re being raped, don’t forget to cry the entire time. No need for anyone to get the wrong idea in retrospect, you see.

Oh, and Mr Twain? Please turn in your moral bona fides. Huck Finn might have helped humanize blacks, but it also made me chuckle. So, you know, no soup for you.

The Issue with Color-Blindness. There are two questions that come up in relation to the current racial situation. Can the current situation be characterized as racial oppression and what role does color-blind rhetoric play in relation to contemporary race relations?

To the extent that there is racial oppression in contemporary American life, it is not the same as the racial oppression that prevailed under segregation. Thinking in King’s terms, lynching and other racial murders of blacks are relatively rare compared to the fifties; fewer blacks live in an airtight cage of poverty; services are not often outrightly refused at restaurants, hotels, and car dealerships; and blacks occupy prominent positions in politics, business, and entertainment that they would have been excluded from before. I’ve heard many African-Americans say that “nothing has changed” and I have also heard some of my white students in Kentucky say that whites are as racist as they think they can get away with. Given the horrific conditions for African-Americans were in the 1950’s, I would have to say the situation has improved for African-Americans in the United States.

Thanks for that. Had you done so during the first half of your silly argument, you would have saved me some trouble — but I appreciate the reprieve nevertheless…

However, the burden of racial oppression on African-Americans has been lightened and shifted rather than eliminated. African-Americans are still subject to arbitrary and capricious actions by police, judges, and the lawyers assigned to defend poor blacks. These include police shootings and beatings, “stop and frisk” campaigns targeted on young black men, racial profiling in traffic stops and arrests resulting from traffic stops, and differential sentencing. Even professional black males have to put up with a fair amount of police harassment as they drive to and from work, in their suburban neighborhoods and the like. Needless to say, blacks are also subject to relentless stereotyping in the news media and entertainment outlets. They often receive slow and negligent service at restaurants and hotels, find themselves followed by security in retail outlets, and have to pay higher interest rates on various kinds of loans. Blacks also have a difficult time getting their professional credentials recognized by white clienteles.

To be black is to be subject to arbitrary and capricious white authority, forced to pay a higher price for housing and other amenities to white owned institutions, and vulnerable to both big and small humiliations perpetrated by white people. It adds up to oppression and there are a large number of African-American writers who portray blacks as an oppressed or persecuted group.

[my emphasis]

And there is the gist — one that, in its own long-winded and studied way, completely ignores my argument, which concerns what is the best way to ameliorate any remaining racial discrepancies.

Even were we to accept Caric’s litany as adding up to oppression based on race (and I think there is plenty of ground to argue that in many of the instances he notes, race is not the determining factor, or — perhaps better put — bigotry based on race is not a determining factor), the professor’s next move is going to be to show that, by trying to “ignore” race, “color-blind racists” simply wish to keep this status quo.

Which, had he read any of my arguments, he’d know is not the case. In fact, it is precisely the status quo against which I find myself constantly fighting — and it is against Caric and people like him who set the policies and foreground the animus that sustains the current status quo that I continue to fight.

Caric, again, is relying on emotional appeals: the fact that disparaties exist, he suggests, must mean that they are the result of institutionalized racism. And in a way, he’s right — though the institutionalized racism that sustains such disparities has less to do with the kind of racism Caric imagines is harbored in the black hearts of conservatives, and is more properly tied to policies that continue to keep the country focused on an artificially sustained “racial divide” under which progressive policy makers and those committed to identity politics feel entitled to try to micromanage outcomes rather than allow that equality of opportunity, once finally divorced from an entrenched (and persistently reinforced) victim mentality, to prove the long-term answer to the demystification of race.

Or, to put it more simply, he is condemning himself.

How does the rhetoric of color-blindness relate to the contemporary situation of blacks? Have to link up and finish the rest tomorrow.

Sure. Or you can just go back and read the Stanley Fish article I linked to in my last response to Caric — to which I’ve already responded.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:43am
120 comments | Trackback

Comments (120)

  1. Hattie really pissed you off, huh

  2. One of the telltales of pure bullshit is the effort to get it off you and your stuff. Meanwhile the bullshit really doesn’t care; it goes right on being bullshit.

    Tends to take the attraction out of wearing nice clean pressed clothes. After awhile you dress differently because of all the bullshit.

    (The flaw in the analogy, obviously, is that bullshit doesn’t jump up off the ground and get in your face…)

    I don’t know where you get the patience, JG. I tend to think this isn’t about the finer points of communication as much as it is about pure slanderous half-wittedness.

  3. I’d add that he appears to like keeping his thinking separate from his blogging, as well, but that would be ungracious of me.

    Beyond the obvious yuck factor, i haven’t seen any evidence of much of any thinking. Will read further…

  4. Am I the only one both amused and troubled that this alleged academic keeps using King’s ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ as his only source of evidentiary support.

    It’s bad enough that he’s relying on rhetoric from almost a half century ago. That – in itself – ought to clue this clueless individual in; simply put, things change. The world is not as it was when King wrote that missive.

    Then there’s the fact that King explicitly preached color-blindness; I submit that King himself would rupture a spleen laughing at Caric’s 21st century interpretation of his views.

    But frankly, that’s not what bothers. What bothers me is: Caric is supposed to be an intellectual. It’s his profession, for Mother Earth’s sake! Most intellectual exhibit one capability: an ability to relate their views to a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, to use those materials as both illustrations and evidence.

    Just look at Jeff Goldstein; he is the perfect example. In all of his best arguments, he cites several – often many – writings, some well-known, some so obscure that I have to go hit Wikipedia to find out what he’s referencing.

    The point is that Goldstein is obviously well-read. Not only that, but he understands what he’s read – and knows how to use it. This isn’t meant to toot his horn; this is actually pretty basic stuff for most academics … especially if, like Caric, the field he’s arguing in is his own academic specialty.

    But what does Caric site? One thing – just one thing: King’s Birmingham letter.

    And ALL OF US read that letter in 8th grade. And again in 12th grade. And then it was required reading in some sophomore humanities course. It is the STANDARD reading, the most basic, the one most high school drop-outs can vaguely remember.

    That Caric relies solely on that inspiring but oh-so-tired document says more about his intellect than all of his weak logic.

    Caric is a fraud.

  5. Wow, smugness whipped all puffy by his searing self rightousness is really, what am I trying to say, tiring? Yes, tiring. I once thought that there was only a few professors because many seemed to be the same professor, but with different exteriors hanging in the office closet.

    I swear I had this regurgitating ass as a professor, but its name was not Caric.

  6. Why give him attention? It’s obvious he doesn’t want to engage intellecutally. He only wants to show off his “dry wit.” The word sanctimonious comes to mind.

  7. site = cite

    And other typos speak for themselves.

    Bottom line: other than providing fodder for your blog, this guy is not worth your time.

  8. (The flaw in the analogy, obviously, is that bullshit doesn’t jump up off the ground and get in your face…)

    Based on my experience growing up on a farm, it sure as hell does!

  9. I am NOT an intellectual. I would NEVER be confused for an intellectual. I am now positive that being an intellectual is not a prerequisite to being a tenured professor. My lord. What a complete doofus.

    “However, the burden of racial oppression on African-Americans has been lightened and shifted rather than eliminated. African-Americans are still subject to arbitrary and capricious actions by police, judges, and the lawyers assigned to defend poor blacks. These include police shootings and beatings, “stop and frisk” campaigns targeted on young black men, racial profiling in traffic stops and arrests resulting from traffic stops, and differential sentencing. Even professional black males have to put up with a fair amount of police harassment as they drive to and from work, in their suburban neighborhoods and the like. Needless to say, blacks are also subject to relentless stereotyping in the news media and entertainment outlets. They often receive slow and negligent service at restaurants and hotels, find themselves followed by security in retail outlets, and have to pay higher interest rates on various kinds of loans. Blacks also have a difficult time getting their professional credentials recognized by white clienteles.

    To be black is to be subject to arbitrary and capricious white authority, forced to pay a higher price for housing and other amenities to white owned institutions, and vulnerable to both big and small humiliations perpetrated by white people. It adds up to oppression and there are a large number of African-American writers who portray blacks as an oppressed or persecuted group.”

    You are so right. That’s his gambit. You nailed that hardly any of those things have anything to do with them being black. Being poor? Sure. But, then again,is he saying that they are poor because they’re just a bunch of dumb negroes? Perfesser ummm has uncovered the insidious truth! There are still racists in America! And by uncovering that inconvenient truth, he also uncovered another one. There are still complete dumbasses in America’s universities!

  10. As adults, we all know that *in general* most Americans are not racists. In fact, most Americans go out of their way to avoid being racist. And while it may take Caric 15 more of these exchanges to admit it, he will eventually get there…

    The real issue is why Caric doesn’t want to get there, and what that says about how Caric views himself in relation to his students. What does it say that a tenured professor can’t give up these shallow, propagandistic, anti-intellectual blatherings? That his preferred method of discourse is disingenuous ad hominem? Does it say that he’s confident about his intellectual skills, in his ability to substantively confront and address dissenting viewpoints (thrown at him by 19 year olds), or does it say that he’s afraid if he creates an atmosphere where his students are encouraged to engage in genuine substantive debate, he’ll be shown to be a weak-minded propagandist?

    I thought so. What a shame that, seemingly, an entire generation of academia has been so thoroughly corrupted by such garbage.

  11. I can’t believe this Ric person gets paid to teach people at an accredited University. He makes Noam Chomsky look reasonable.

  12. “What bothers me is: Caric is supposed to be an intellectual. It’s his profession, for Mother Earth’s sake! Most intellectual exhibit one capability: an ability to relate their views to a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, to use those materials as both illustrations and evidence.”

    Perhaps. What does a lefty do when the last interesting intellectual of that persuasion died forty years ago? The fact that the windmills are barely piles of rubble will never stop a committed lefty from mounting Dulcinea and setting off in search of more giants to slay in his neverending quest to win fair Rocinante’s heart. What else is there for them to do?

    Tiresome jes don’t do ‘em justice.

  13. Let’s try this next very obvious trick on for size. Caric found family law status quo all neat and tidy too, a few days ago, remember? For a Perseffer, you’d think they guy could function above the neck — I know I do, still. So here we go:

    “However, the burden of gender oppression on fathers has not really been lightened and shifted, not to mention eliminated. Dads are still subject to arbitrary and capricious actions by police, judges, and the lawyers assigned to defend moms. On occasion, these have included police shootings and beatings. They include regular “accuse and disenfranchise” campaigns targeted on men, gross profiling in all levels of the system and arrests resulting from undue process, and highly differential verdicts and sentencing. Even professional males have to put up with a fair amount of court harassment as they function in many levels of their private lives, in their suburban neighborhoods and the like. Needless to say, fathers are also subject to relentless stereotyping in the news media and entertainment outlets. They often receive slow and negligent legal service, find themselves hounded by suthorities, suffer credit checks and holds, suffer frequent loss of civil privileges and rights, and pay some ninety percent of all “child support”. Non-custodial males also have a difficult time getting their basic constitutional rights recognized by the majority of the legal system.”

    So. It’s not really about taking the time to author those five or six books, is it Perfluffer? Maybe it’s about goggles. The difference is that I don’t teach.

  14. Hattie means nothing to me, happyfoot. But if you want shorter posts, most of my stuff can be read just as coherently by picking every 20th word and reconstructing it that way.

    I am Dada, hear me roar.

  15. I claim that my argument is bolstered by the sheer lack of intellectual engagement in this thread and the huge amount of ad hom attacks against my masculinity.

    Because by simply declaring it, it becomes true.

  16. Color-blind rhetoric is a mask for racist behavior, according to Prof. Caric.* I am sure that we will soon be given many examples – all properly cited – of a person saying one thing and doing another. Calling for equal treatment and then treating unequally.

    Any minute now…

    (*This, of course, doesn’t ask the question of whether color-conscious rhetoric is a mask for racially neutral behavior. And I suppose we ought to be happy that the good professor’s words are not turned around that way or the tenure commission may want to ask him some questions.)

  17. Why give him attention?

    Well, I answered that in the post, but the post is rather long, so I’ll put it here in case Hattie drops by again:

    But the truth is, Caric himself is useful only as an example of a type we’ve come across here rather too frequently — the progressive professor who, for reasons one can hardly begin to imagine, is eager to place on display his own bigotries, biases, and anti-intellectual posturings.

    He is, for better or worse, an example of just how impervious to substantive criticism many academics feel, having surrounded themselves with like-minded ideological fellow-travelers, and then — once entrenched in their departments and protected by the self-selection of the hiring committees they form — have taken to systematically redefining the parameters for what comes to count as academic “thinking.”

    The rest is just “hate speech” relegated to “free speech zones,” lacrosse parties, and Campus Republican meetings.

    For my part, I find it instructive to point to such creatures — much like I once pointed to monkeys at the Baltimore Zoo and noted how, if you squinted just, they almost seemed just like us. Having left the academy myself — and having become increasingly disappointed with its growing anti-intellectualism (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) — I feel like I have a responsibility to shine a light onto its substance, which is generally hidden behind slick marketing brochures, fine brick buildings, and the carefully staged “diversity” of the student body.

    None of which means any of YOU have to be interested, or even find such things instructive.

    But who knows what search engines will one day bring my way…

  18. Three paragraphs, no substance

    That’s nothing. I bet he could go on for YEARS without saying anything at all.

  19. Well, he’s at Morehead State. OK? Isn’t that Dante’s 22nd circle of Hades? One below the Red Mosque Madrassa degree in Delusion? Luckily, that particular pedantic circle leaves a lot of free time, either heavy breathing the students (no chance there, save his heart palpitations climbing stairs: I’ve seen his photo) or to call oneself ‘Dr’ while trying to find a more worthy audience than the lecture hall at MS. BTW, ‘Doc’ is just not done, Caric. For example, aSt Harvard you’d just be ‘Mr’, even with a PhD. Kinda reverse snobbery bred from confidence, capice?)

    Just by coincidence, I know the Polysci Department at UNC (his terminal degree) since a friend of mine was a Fulbright PhD in the department at the exact same date. There wasn’t much happening interesting (or at all?) by way of his current teaching (pretty low division stuff) duties and the titles sound more like intimating lectures (hectors?) at a third-rate school based on new, post-dissertation specialties. Often happens: ‘scholars’ aren’t needed in the original areas of expertise and now a professor is faced with quickly and facilely teaching himself a contemporary ‘groovy’ guilt trip syllabus, without of course, the noxious demands of argumentation and subsequent refinement of ideas abetted by the tutorial system of graduate faculty guidance. His rhetorical style suggests that his student are subject to psychological browbeating, not the Socratic method. Whether the questionable SATs of Morehead students (circa 900 combined) allow the kind of intellectual capital (sarcasm, litotes, mockery) necessary to withstand the storm of racial guilt, much less chuckle at the irony of a fat white guy lecturing white guilt to to one of the honkiest populations in the nation seems to escape him.

    As for our previous conversation over ‘Dr’ Barnes–we are in agreement, Structuralism is in fact the way to go. From the Russian Formalists to the Prague Structuralists, they still (semioticians all, with a small ‘s’) pwn the academic universe–and have had more significant impact on MIT, say, in systems analysis all the way to the most current brain theory–structuralism at its finest is an integrated way of discerning the most abstruse, yet logical, systems: circuit board layouts to aesthetic structures, layouts, patterns, intercises, corrolations, waves, etc. A grand occasion where art influenced science (Shannon, Weaver, Weiner, cybernetics…all from Roman Jakobson and the structuralists in their ‘group’ in Cambridge. Texts and machines of meaning, efficiency equalled feedback loops and computers, cyphers and code-breaking).

  20. Jeff G, it seems from my reading of PW that the 100% surefire way to get a negative response out of you is to imply that your posts are long, tedious, or some similar nonsense. Nine times out of ten, this shows that the implier has little in the way of brain power, likely not enough to even BE hypocritical in the matter (When one’s psyche is so amorphous as to be completely without values, only constrained by clinging to the narrative like a life preserver, hypocrisy is not the correct word.). I mince no words, and do not give this compliment out lightly: Jeff G, you are an artist. Your prose is perfectly formed, never of inordinate length, and comprehensible to even to intellectual lightweights (When compared to you) such as myself. You should always be proud of it. There are precious few wordsmiths that can match what you write.

  21. The other one time out of ten, naturally, is that the implier is a hypocrite at best.

  22. I’m not going to bother defending this Ric Caric guy, but this bugs me:

    Caric, again, is relying on emotional appeals: the fact that disparaties exist, he suggests, must mean that they are the result of institutionalized racism. And in a way, he’s right — though the institutionalized racism that sustains such disparities has less to do with the kind of racism Caric imagines is harbored in the black hearts of conservatives, and is more properly tied to policies that continue to keep the country focused on an artificially sustained “racial divide” under which progressive policy makers and those committed to identity politics feel entitled to try to micromanage outcomes rather than allow that equality of opportunity, once finally divorced from an entrenched (and persistently reinforced) victim mentality, to prove the long-term answer to the demystification of race.

    You really need to explain to me how left-wing policies are resulting in disparities that disenfranchise blacks. The Great Society programs lasted little more than a decade before being gutted by neoliberal economics in the late-seventies and the rise of the New Right in the 1980s. It’s positively absurd to blame the left for the plight of African-Americans when the left hasn’t had any real influence on economic or social welfare policy since 1979.

    Let’s take this for example. How is modern-day redlining being perpetuated by financial institutions against the black community the result of “identity politics?”

  23. John —

    Read Dennett’s Consciousness Explained?

    Mr Boo —

    Much appreciated.

  24. “Color-blind rhetoric is a mask for racist behavior, according to Prof. Caric.”

    What a bizarre world view.

    Anyone who argues that people should be treated the same regardless of skin color …

    … is racist.

    Wha?

  25. piles of rubble will never stop a committed lefty from mounting Dulcinea and setting off in search of more giants to slay in his neverending quest to win fair Rocinante’s heart.

    Thanks for that image. Just. Thanks.

    People like Caric, who create a hierarchy of “empathy” up which they can climb to show how much more moral they are than the benighted masses, remind me of a stupid little game some students used to play at Brigham Young University (owned by the LDS church) when trying to demonstrate how pure their hearts were:

    “I never say anything stronger than ‘heck’ or ‘darn.'”

    “Oh yeah? Well I never even use euphemisms!”

    “And I never even think euphemisms.”

    Ad absurdum.

    Think also of those addicted to recycling, who piously sort and wash every BIT of garbage, composting the organics and recycling the rest, and then sniff piously at the unrighteous among us who toss out the plastic grocery bags because they’ll be just fine in the landfill as long as they stay put.

    Human society has a long record of people playing one-up games with each other to show who’s the most X: most macho, most pious, most wealthy, most fashionable. Whatever “virtue” your peer group has latched onto.

    With academia, it’s “empathy” and “sensitivity,” so naturally people fall over themselves trying to prove how sensitive they are, and the longer time passes, the stranger and more extreme the latest shows of piety become.

    Case in point: a friend of mine from another country (anglosphere) gives cross-cultural understanding seminars. She’s mixed-race/culture herself, so she understand the basic categories of differences between cultures.

    She was giving one of these seminars in Berkeley, talking about how signs (literally, boards with symbols on them that give information) are interpreted. She said that in some countries, public toilets are mere holes in the ground, so when people from those countries come to the West, they see our toilet seats and try to stand on the seat and squat down, which results in bad things, from dirtying the seat to falling off and injuring one’s most delicate parts.

    My friend observed that in some places where such immigrants are common, there’s sign over the toilet showing someone standing on the seat with an X through it to warn the person not to stand on the seat.

    One Berkeley denizen (and my friend predicted such a reaction) raised her hand and said, “But doesn’t that mock their culture?”

    My friend’s suspicions of the over-“sensitivity” of left-wing students was confirmed. She couldn’t fathom why something so practical as using a toilet in such a way as to not hurt yourself should be considered “offensive” by immigrants. But as usual, the left-wingers have gotten to the point where they not only are empathetic with others’ plight, they invent things to be empathetic about, things that the supposed oppressed persons wouldn’t even think about (and about which they are not offended, either).

    It’s just a race to the top of a tottering pyramid of self-righteousness that every society manages to create, and someday it will come falling down, and subsequent generations will factor out “empathy” entirely from their thought processes because they’ve witnessed how “foolish” empathy is.

    Tragedy, really, that we keep behaving in such a ridiculous manner.

    TW: division behavior; geez, no joke.

  26. You want to see a black man be oppressed. Watch him run for senator as a republican.

    ……….and how did the lead singer from The Cars get to be a professor at Morehead State?

  27. You know dicentra, it might just be better to install a couple of feet-shaped wings (with the proper high friction rubber tread) onto the toilet seat. Who knows? I might even try a high-altitude bombing raid if the mood were to strike me just so. Shoe choice would be important.

  28. I like long posts, Jeff. I’m already on paragraph 3 of this one. I’ll declare a lunch hour here pretty soon and I bet I’ll be up to speed in no time. Having already cancelled all of my subscriptions, you can see how I might appreciate these feature-length ones.

  29. “Shoe choice would be important.”

    Yeah. In some places that is the first two rules of holes. Semiotically speaking.

    Hip waders would prolly be appropriate footwear for the perfessors classes. Or maybe full HAZMAT.

  30. You really need to explain to me how left-wing policies are resulting in disparities that disenfranchise blacks.

    The welfare state makes people dependent on hand-outs to survive, and when people become dependent, their independence muscles atrophy. Furthermore, because their bad behavior or bad habits don’t affect whether that check comes or not, they tend to not stop doing dumb things (drug use, alcoholism, teen-pregnancy, gangs, crime).

    When you do something for someone that they should be able to do for themselves, you destroy their dignity and instill despair. Imagine insisting that your 12-year-old ride in a stroller at the amusement park or not allowing your teen-aged daughter to dress herself.

    Many of the people who are on the dole could be in the workforce, but they have never learned the skills necessary to be a good employee. Showing up on time, showing up every day, working through the day, following rules, not stealing from the employer—these are all things we learn by watching our parents as they go to work every day and shoulder the sole responsibility for their lives. The government can’t teach it to you in a class; you have to learn by example.

    So all these kids who are being raised by their single, unworking mothers and absent, unworking fathers never learn to function in an employment environment. The dole is a fixed sum that you can’t increase by yourself (only on the whim of congress), so whatever situation you’re in, you can’t change it. Being in a bad situation with no road out leads to despair, and despair leads to self-destructive behavior. And it keeps repeating with the next generation.

    It’s not that we’re not giving them enough money, it’s that we are (the left is) not expecting anything from them: not insisting that they work or get educated or get married or stop rutting like dogs in the street or just leave off with gangsta attitudes and act human.

    When you’re on the dole, the psychological inertia you have to overcome to get off the dole (by getting education, training, a job) is almost impossible to break without a hard shove from an external source. I was on private disability for two years, and only when they cut me off and I risked losing my house was I able to get off my butt and get back into it — and I have an ivy-league education and a long work history. If it was hard for me, it must be extremely hard for them.

    We’re not doing anyone any favors by condemning them to government dependence. Yes, there are some people who have disabilities (mental, physical, emotional) that prevent them from being employable, but that doesn’t describe most of the people in the inner cities.

    In a country this wealthy, poverty is the result of cultural pathology, not lack of resources.

  31. AJB —

    The policies aren’t necessarily “left-wing”, though they tend these days to be propped up by left wingers — and it is progressives who continue to argue for a continuation of what has proven to be bad public policy by way of strained legal interpretions.

    Instead, the problem is with a certain type of interventionism that aims at making frequent market corrections through bits of legislation, some of it useful in the short term and dangerous in the long term, some of it just plain anathema to constitutional principles, some of it short-sighted feel goodism that plays well when bite-sized, but shows poorly when it is studied at any length.

    Similarly — as I noted in the post — there are a complexity of issues involved in what are most frequently trotted out as racial disparities. You bring up redlining without saying exactly with what about the practice you take offense. Is it the fact that the subprime loans are granted in the first placde? Or the fact that they are granted disproportionately to minorities?

    The reason why Blacks (or Hispanics) find themselves with lower credit ratings isn’t, I don’t think, intrinsic to race. We can trace the policies that got us there, but they are many and varied.

    I argued some of these particular instances several years ago with Aaron Hawkins of Uppity Negro (who has since passed away), including disproportionate traffic stops for Blacks in certain areas, etc.

    If you are asking me to go through all the instances outlined by Caric to make an individual case for each, I simply don’t have the time.

    We are trying, as best we can, to discuss a remedy for the “racial divide” in the macro here — at least, I am. Trying to track the trajectory of every individual policy is something better left to, say, the Thernstroms.

    But overall, it’s been my contention that policies that tend to focus on fixing “racial disparity” — when the solution is tied solely to race (again, I have written in favor of affirmative action based on opportunity) often times do nothing but either exacerbate the disparity, or else have the effect of creating a new group of victims or perceived victims, which in turn leads to a stoking of racial animus.

    Must go workout and feed the boy. Back later.

  32. I think the good professor needs to broaden his understanding of the works of King. The idea that “Letters” is the only, or even the most telling, of King’s works is way off base.

    Maybe he can start to expand his knowledge with “I have a Dream”, which I have always felt best expressed what King was striving for. It is also where you find this passage:

    The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

    …and even more, this quote, which by continuing to focus so much on skin color, Mr. Caric works against:

    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

  33. I have no problem with mounting Dulcinea, but you can win Rocinante’s heart with an apple and a good rubdown.

  34. interesting note:

    Ric says:

    “Blacks also have a difficult time getting their professional credentials recognized by white clienteles.”

    as one of his claims that oppression is still really bad for blacks. Does it ever ocurr to him, and those on the left, that affirmative action itself is what would cause this?

    In other words, if most whites believe that blacks get into good schools based mostly on the fact that they are black (i.e., affirmative action) and that blacks get jobs mostly because they are black (i.e., affirmative action), then would it not lead whites to be wary of black professionals? In other words, if the “black professional” is only in his/her position because of affirmative action rather than merit, wouldn’t it be prudent of a white business person to be wary of hiring that “black professional”?

    It is exactlty this kind of thinking that affirmative action actually creates – thus creating more racism than it will ever heal.

    How the left never understands this is beyond me.

  35. I guess what I am trying to say in the above comment, is that if you have system of holding people to a lower standard based on race (to get a government contract, get into a school, get a job), then other people are going to think less of your achievements, b/c you have not been held to the same higher standard as everyone else.

    And, it seems to me, that is a completely rational thought process.

    Moreover, it perpetuates people not achieving the higher standard, b/c there is now no incentive for them to achieve the higher standard. For instance, If I could do less but make the same amount of money, chances are I will do less. Why would it be any different for people on the receiving end of affirmative action? If I know that I can get into harvard with a “B” average rather than an “A” average, why would I spend the extra 1-hour per night studying to get the “A”?

  36. Caric isn’t worth the effort. Destroying his all too common argument for those present as well as for posterity is a public service.

    Bravo, both for your logic and your patience.

  37. Am I the only one both amused and troubled that this alleged academic keeps using King’s ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ as his only source of evidentiary support.

    I don’t mind it. What I do mind, however, is how narrowly Caric interprets King when he writes:

    …freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed…

    It’s not only white vs. black. It was also American colonist vs. British monarchy, for example.

  38. In the sixties, friskings. Today? fiskings. Will the oppression never cease?!?!

    As expected, Caric makes the non-connection connection. I remember someone in my Freshmen English course denigrating the rise of computers because it would somehow increase racial disparities, or something. The argument was not robust, and reminds me a lot of his.

    There’s a certain voodoo required to transmute, if you will, King’s fact and opinion in the 60’s to anything but opinion today.

    And yes, many of us (perhaps all) have read King’s letter. I will say it again, what I said before…

    There’s something called false burden bearing. Christ says to his followers, “If any man wishes to follow me, he must deny himself and carry his own cross daily.” False burden bearing is when you carry someone else’s cross (burden) that they do not allow or request assistance with, or you purport to bear a burden (yours or theirs) which actually does not exist.

    Whether or not they feel the burden or not is not important. Granted, you cannot deny a feeling, but rather try to understand it. Not every feeling is based on reality. Rejection, for instance, may be felt whether or not it really occurred. A thousand anecdotes can be provided – but are unnecessary to prove this more general point.

    In fact, our goal in life should not be to feel good – as we really don’t control our feelings – but to be good.

    In your case, I’d say you take your ability to feel the oppression of blacks as signal or excuse to do whatever you can to alleviate said feeling. Or, you’re being dishonest. Or a little of both.

    Anyway, just because my skin is the same color doesn’t mean I’m the same. So don’t use me as a flotation device for your immense guilt. There is a problem, but your pontification cannot do a thing about it. In fact, you can only hurt it with your foolish and emotive arguments and ideas.

    Once de jure segregation was gone, the only thing left was time. But some people had to go and fuck it up, the impatient fools. My generation didn’t know segregation, and didn’t segregate. Naturally people are initially cautious of those different – in whatever sense – but without segregation to actually halt folks, the bonds eventually have dissolved.

    The plain fact is, Caric, economically speaking, it is beneficial for me as a businessmen to do business with as many people as I can. Without laws discouraging doing business with blacks – which basically are non-existent at this point (there still remain a few exceptions) the only thing that might stop me from doing this is self-imposed guilt.

    Interestingly, most ‘civil rights’ action these days is not directed at resolving these remaining laws, but instead making people feel better.

    Lame.

    tw: Socialist airs – yes, they’re usually played in Me flat, aren’t they?

  39. Moreover,

    I would point out that his other arguments of continued oppression deal mostly with civil rights – which nobody is arguing be done away with. In other words, people who are unfairly arrested, etc., would still have the ability to sue for racial discrimination even were we to move to a more race-neutral society.

    It is a common tactic of the left to portray the argument against race specific laws such as affirmative action, as an argument against anti-discrimination laws. The two things are not the same. anti-discrimination laws are race-neutral in that they protect EVERY race against discrimination. AFfirmative action is NOT race-neutral b/c it treats members of one race differently from members of other races.

    THus, the left will claim such race-neutral arguments are an attempt to allow rampant discrimation in employment, etc., which is simply not true – and they know this is not true. But, they know that their arguments lack merit and thus lie about their opponent’s arguments.

    Which, in and of itself, seems to alert me to the fact that they know they have no arguments – otherwise why argue in such bad faith?

  40. Why do these discussions focus exclusively on Blacks? My Asian wife’s parents are first generation and despite their accents and unfamiliarity with American culture, they have prospered. Is the specificity of race so selective in these arguments because Asian, Hispanic, and Indian (Asia) aren’t oppressed? Do we white people (and by white I mean my Italian, American Indian, German variety. Not exactly egg-shell white unless you’re talking about those scrumptious brown farm eggs) selectively oppress?

    I don’t get offended when visiting China town with my in-laws and I’m the only one given the fork at the table. I simply understand the assumption and politely ask for chop sticks. Though I suppose I could just find my inner anger and presume they laying on the hate.

  41. Just wanted to second Mr. Boo. I enjoy the heck out of these posts, and I think they are important in laying out some important arguments. Even if they have been laid out before. These tend to help crystallize my own understanding of Mr. Goldstein’s arguments.

    I think you should be proud of having a political blog where the following parenthetical was both written and necessary:
    “She was giving one of these seminars in Berkeley, talking about how signs (literally, boards with symbols on them that give information) are interpreted.”

  42. I can’t believe this Ric person gets paid to teach people at an accredited University.

    If he were a brain surgeon, he’d already be driving a taxi cab by now.

    tw:”some intermarry” Whoa!

  43. Re :“Letter from Birmingham Jail,”
    “… What it is not, however, is a carved tablet revealing how race relations will always be — particularly after 44 years of governmental attempts to ameliorate past injustices.”

    True dat. And the governmental attempts pale in comparison to the private sector and societal attempts we have made. America today would not be recognizable to most black men from 44 years ago in terms of opportunity.

    tw : signs perfidy
    well! I never!

  44. Jeff,

    First, I’ve been in & out of town lately and am catching up. My sympathy on the passing of your grandmother.

    Second, What an elegant demolition of this nit wit, in general and in detail.

    “Because from where I stood, all that Professor Caric had done was cobble together a list of stale assertions that he then whisked together with a huge dollop of self-righteousness and several cups of smug self-satisfaction to form the kind of rhetorical tar that fits perfectly onto an extra broad brush.” Wow, the progressive cookbook!

    What I find curious about Caric’s argument where he says, “My argument will be that “color-blind” rhetoric functions as a rationalization for ‘contemporary’ racial oppression and the refusal to develop remedies for racial oppression.”

    Somehow the cry for color-blindness, during the heyday of King and the civil-rights movement, was not a rationalization but was what they were trying to achieve. Wasn’t it King who asked that a man not be judged by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character? Somehow this morphed into being racist since then. It would be nice if Caric could explain just how that came about. I’m not holding my breath for that though.

  45. Caric:
    “African-Americans are still subject to arbitrary and capricious actions by police, judges, and the lawyers assigned to defend poor blacks. These include police shootings and beatings…”

    The statement above is a fairly revealing look at Caric’s rather shallow intellectual world view. Caric cites a litany of present abuses by the white dominated system against African-Americans, suggests that these need to be seen as just part of a pattern of oppression and, as such, uses these asserted abuses as an intellectual cudgel with which to reveal that the supposed racism of a conservative intellectual like Jeff is inseparable from someone who attends Klan rallies, because, after all if Jeff isn’t part of the solution, then he must be part of the problem. The real problem is that in order to find his tactic persuasive, one has to have already taken at least a little sip of the kool-aid that is clearly Caric’s beverage of choice. For instance, one needs to be able see a news account in which an African-American is beaten or shot by a police officer and immediately consider that the police action is suspect. In so doing it of course a helpful mental exercise to assume that the cop(s )involved are big, fat, white, mean, southern heterosexual protestants who watch a lot of NASCAR and Fox News and say “nigger” a lot. Another good trick is to stab yourself in the leg with a fork if you find yourself wondering how the number of African-Americans shot by police officers would compare to, say, the number of African-Americans shot by other African-Americans. Because if you failed to draw blood with the first fork thrust and made such an intellectual slip, you might find yourself asking other questions that Caric is almost certain to consider sinister. Because in Caric’s world view we must only consider two things: white oppression and black victimization; anything distracting from these simple facts is threatening and needs to be stopped. And if asking such questions leads people to believe that the condition of African-Americans as a group in 2007 really isn’t that similar to their condition in 1907 or 1807, then it’s just possible that Caric’s broad stroke tactic of comparing present day conservatives to klanners, brutal plantation owners or racist sheriffs isn’t very viable. In fact, it becomes possible to start asking how a tenured professor at an accredited university isn’t laughed off the campus by his own peers for employing such clumsy rhetoric and wondering how he was ever hired in the first place. It is in this context that Caric’s Ahab -like obsession with Jeff and PW, poorly disguised with occasional feigned indifference, should be understood.

  46. Dario,

    You’re asking the right question. The influx of Asians into our country and economy over the past few decades has put the lie to the grievances of other racial groups. For example, the success of Asian students here in Southern California, without the help of bilingual education, demonstrated that the bilingual model is irrelevant in primary education. Though it has remained in place, parents who are not inclined toward victimology have observed the success of Asian students and have agitated against bilingual ed for their own children, and with much success.

    Mr. Caric’s thinking reveals the stereotypes that are operative in much of our culture: media, education, corporations, and politics. The stereotypes are thoroughly ingrained, and can be demonstrated in the most absurd ways. For instance, this week, during a press junket for a stupid new sitcom coming out this fall based on the Geico Insurance “cavemen”, reporters attempted to corner the producers with questions about the show really being about blacks; that the cavemen were simply stand-ins for blacks. It’s ridiculous, and invidious, but this is but one small example of how these stereotypes find their way into our daily discourse. Worse than the reporters’ questions is the response they got from the producers. Rather than call them on their nonsensical assumptions, they took a defensive position. Such is life in America, thanks to people like Prof. Caric.

    In the long run, Asians will rule this country, if demographic trends show us anything. Of the highly populated regions of the globe, they are the best positioned, and the best suited, to carry forward the promise of this country.

  47. Dario wrote: I don’t get offended when visiting China town with my in-laws and I’m the only one given the fork at the table. I simply understand the assumption and politely ask for chop sticks. Though I suppose I could just find my inner anger and presume they laying on the hate.

    It’s better than that, Dario. If we’ve learned nothing else from our moral superiors, it’s that one can be offended by anything. If they bring you silverware, you can be offended that they assume you’re helpless and unskilled. On the other hand, if they don’t bring you silverware, you can be offended that they are forcing their culture on you in an attempt to annihilate your fork-based traditions.

    See? It’s just that easy!

  48. I for one am enjoying following along the arguments. I have two points to consider:

    1. Dear Professor, if there were no racism, what would you care about?

    2. Japanese people have an odd interest in one particular detail that they think tells them a lot about another person. Basically, they put a lot of stock into the social compatibilities and promises held by a person’s blood type. Yes, blood type, AB, O, B that sort of thing. They think it tells them a lot about how well or poorly that they will get along. I remained flummoxed by this thinking, it’s very similar to using astrology to find a mate: Aries like Pisces but can’t stand Cancer, that kind of thing.

    Well, I’m a Gemini, and Geminis don’t believe in Astrology. Or blood typing. Or racism. There, that’s as close a metaphor as I can make.

    Big Dan.

  49. GB’s point about affirmative action is spot on. At one point I had a black dentist, a black surgeon, and a black anesthesiologist. I never thought twice about that, because I assumed that everybody in those professions had to pass the same courses, tests, and licensing requirements. Any system that undermines that assumption is bad news for black professionals.

    Some people in Prof. Caric’s camp worry about the transition to a colorblind society. They are afraid that at any point where that would occur there would be some number of black people who are victims of racism and who would, therefore, be disadvantaged in that transition. No doubt that’s true. But the solution is not the continuation of race-based remedies; there is no end to that. The solution is for those transitional cases to be handled in a race-neutral way. There are very few that could not be handled under some economic deprivation criterion, rather than race. Class-based affirmative action does not raise the same issues for most people that the race-based version does nor, in the U.S. at least, does it carry the same tendency toward identity politics.

  50. I don’t want to get bogged down in a bunch of details, but a lot of what he cites as “oppression” is either not reflected in the numbers or is simply anecdotal. For example, traffic stop statistics for the KCPD (and in fact for the entire state of Missouri) just don’t show much, if any, evidence of racial profiling. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen at all, but the numbers sure don’t seem to reflect it. And slow service in restaurants? WTF? How the hell is that quantified?

    TW: seven enough Did Dick Van Patten die or something?

  51. “I am Dada, hear me roar.”

    I roared, after reading that, with laughter.

    I thought the twow rules of holes were: 1st rule – Don’t talk about holes; 2nd rule – DON’T TALK ABOUT HOLES!

  52. Question: In the post Jeff did on the 25th Caric said “Second, I argued that Goldstein’s rationalizations for circumscribing muslim immigration opposition to gay marriage, and opposition to feminism are more evil than the bigotry of people like JD and Thor. What Goldstein does is both provide intellectual cover for bigots and advance a political agenda on behalf of homophobic bigotry and racism.”

    If that is the case, that Jeff is “more evil” because of that enabling, then what is the Dr’s opinion of Rev. Bernice King and King’s niece, Alveda King, when they protested gay rights in 2004?

    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/12/14/EDGEBAB7KB1.DTL

    They are of the same skin tone and occupation as Dr. King, so they should stand under the same victim class moral authority. If not, would the Dr tell them that their oppression is less today that Dr. Kings was? Have they lost thier place at the “victim table” because of thier active role in “providing intellectual cover for bigots and advancing a political agenda on behalf of homophobic bigotry?” If so, will he be the one to tell them that and on what authority would he do it?

    Can Dr. Caric speak “truth to the power” about this oppression Jeff supposedly enables among us when “Polls show that black evangelicals’ hostility to same-sex marriage is much stronger than that of white evangelicals” according to the story above?

    If the moral authority to determine the definiton of oppression is tied to identity of the oppressed then he’s stuck being in support of contradictory groups. Either he sides with the homosexuals or the African American culrutalist. If it is a term of concrete meaning, outside of the victim culturist domain to define, then he falls into the role of the outsider telling the other how to think.

    I would wager he would find very little joy and self righteousness to be derived from telling the “victims” that they are wrong too. It’s much more rewarding to take on the evil white man for injustices of precieved contradictory thought, real or not, because then you legitimize yourself as another white man that has to protect the minorities who are evidently incapable of protecting themselves. Jeff, it seems, is the supposed to play the role of the Dragon for St George the Morehead race warrior to slay. Too bad, St George was a shitty judge of talent or he would have picked a lesser target.

  53. “And slow service in restaurants? WTF? How the hell is that quantified?”

    I have a friend in the restaurant business. Most anti-racist person out there before the experience. But he is at least capable of admitting a cold, hard truth he and all of his co-workers know: Black people are lousy tippers. (His words, not mine. I have no experience with this sort of thing. I disclaim the very thought because of this lack of experience.)

    I usually rag on him, but he is too good a person to be tipped poorly due to poor service.

  54. If that is the case, that Jeff is “more evil” because of that enabling, then what is the Dr’s opinion of Rev. Bernice King and King’s niece, Alveda King, when they protested gay rights in 2004?

    Somewhere in kentucky, a head just imploded.

    tw: wisdom feats don’t fail me now!

  55. If you take Professor Ric to a sort of semi-upscale racially-balanced get-together, with like good food and an open bar in like Knoxville or the closest sort of posh Kentucky place, what you’re not going to find is a lot of black people mingling around thinking “I wanna hang with that guy.” He thinks it’s cause they feel oppressed by his white privilege.

    I’m not exactly that guy either. But that’s different.

  56. Yes, in my experience, not so good tippers. But really that’s loser waiter thinking. Tips average out at the end of the night, and believe me, it’s way more work trying to game a night by deciding who is going to get good service and who isn’t. Your tip percentage on your total sales at the end of the night is generally going to be fairly consistent, and your tip percentage on your total sales at the end of the night when you skillfully slighted all your darkie customers to focus on pleasing whitie is probably not going to be appreciably different. Unless whitie like slips you his card with his hotel room number written on the back.

  57. Oh.

    I only knew the first one.

  58. Are you saying that black customers don’t stay in nice hotels?

    Gawd, this really is a racist crowd, isn’t it? Shame on you, happyfeet!

  59. I only knew the first one, too, happyfeet.

    The second one, per Jeff, is this: any asshole, it seems, can be a professor.

  60. “Black people are lousy tippers.”

    In my culinary period I was told told this by several waitrons, a couple of them black themselves. I was also told by a very good friend, who didn’t know this was a favorite of mine, that people who ordered fried fish with catsup were ignorant rednecks who tipped for shit.

    I know the pain of oppression.

  61. Say what you will: Rosie O’Donnell still gives far pig-ugly dykes everywhere a bad name.

  62. Caric: “Even professional black males […]”

    As opposed to the amateurs, who only dabble in black male-ing on holidays and weekends.

  63. Nonono. It can go either way, depending on where your attentions are concentrated. I just wrote it that way cause I thought the idea was… Oh. Hah.

  64. Whether the tipping wisdom is true or not, I have no idea. “Blacks get slower service in restaurants” is still not quantifiable, and therefore not evidence of anything at all. There’s a newspaper columnist here in town who wrote a column bitching about how on his vacation he kept getting smoking rooms when he requested non-smoking rooms, and attributing that to racism. Bullshit. I always request a smoking room and always get a non-smoking room. So hotels either assign randomly or just flat don’t pay a damn bit of attention to the request when it’s made. The notion that race has anything to do with it is a silly conclusion to draw.

  65. Oh – that was for Squid.

  66. Just for context I should also say that tipping-wise, groups of non-drinking women are the worst. Way beyond any other combination of race or whatever. If they also happen to be schoolteachers, then, well, sometimes you just have to do it for the love.

  67. I would add that the choice of topic show that the professor didn’t bother to read anything Jeff has written. I can’t imagine a topic that Jeff is more passionate and knowledgeable than group rights and multiculturist ideas.

    Shooting fish in a barrel.

  68. Perhaps the most distressing thing about Caric’s attitude is that he seems to believe that life is unchanging and resistant to mankind’s every effort at improvement. Ironically–ironically for someone holding a progressive view–human ‘progress’ does not, nor can not, exist. Whatever we do, it seems there is just no winning. This reflects a hopeless, nihilistic attitude toward life that is stagnant, hopeless and ultimately, evil.

    And–to the surprise of no one here–his worldview bears no resemblance to reality, which is abundant with examples that undermine his argument. I mean, the wealthiset woman in the country is Black and we’ve got Black men owning their own businesses, driving Mercedes and voting Republican. The only plantations are the ones in Caric’s skull.

    I would say Caric is a fraud, but that would be unkind to someone who’s clearly a victim of fashions in thought. He’s just the product of an intellectually and morally decadent education.

  69. So. The perfesser is an unimaginative bigoted twit. That’s all you needed to say Jeff. “The perfesser is an unimaginative bigoted twit.” Got it. We can cross him off the debate list, then?

    tw; 355, pioneers Oh. I’d say a least that many.

  70. - Jeebus. what an interesting construct. Your party works tirelessly doen through the years to do all it can to erect, and maintain,an identity group called “victim”, then having managed to achieve that through piles of “candy”, spend every waking moment convincing their victims its those bad Conservatives faults. This flaggrent distortion of reality is based on:

    1). You poor inferior Black folk would be lost without the Lefts care and guidence, but not to worry because fortunately foe your lowly souls we’re so super sensitive, and empathetic to your suffering, we’ll deign to set aside all other considerations and take care of you, like the good children you are. The man has fixed the system so badly, that coupled with your inferiority, no fault of you own you understand, you simply cannot achieve equality in any merit standard based system. Affirmative action will guarentee your weaknesses can be overcome. We will see to the leveling of the playing field!

    2). Those evil conservatives want to oppress you and withhold all of the good things in life that they enjoy, simply because they are, by nature, racist and mean spirited, and you can see clearly they always will be. Its because of their actions that many social problems still exist in the Black community all these many years after the civil rights movement. Don’t fall for the trick of the asccention in public office, by certain Uncle Tom minded Black americans, elevated by the oppression party White leaders. They are simply window dresssing, meerly another White establishment trick to present certain appearences, just to confuse you.

    – Ok. we all know thats the agenda, one that has worked well for the Left for generations. I do not believe for a minute that the majority of Blacks believe a word of it. But. to listen to voices such as Dr. Cosby, to reach for a higher goal, to go for the brass ring, you have to stop taking the chocolate, and that, as an earlier poster outlined so very well, is a most difficult change to make, particularly when you have no outside agency enabling you to achieve, and quite the contrary, a partisan group intent on maintaining the status quo, protecting their territory, and absolutely no interest, beyond selg angradisement, in improving the true social welfare and conditions of their “victims” they have steadfastly victimized.

    – Quite in contrast to the profligate posturing, and projection tropes .people like Caric indulge in, I honestly don’t think they give a flying fuck concerning the future of Black Americans. Ideolog sychpophants have bigger fish to fry, with an end game as dark as it is empty of humanity.

  71. No, no, no. The worst tippers are the following:

    Large Mormon families that come in for breakfast (and leave the entire seating area sticky with maple syrup).

    Retired couples (in pairs or quads).

    Europeans tourists who think that gratuity is included on the bill.

    The best tippers were the smokers, who sat in the smoking section (back when those were allowed) and had a lot of beers.

    This from waiting tables at the lodge in Zion National Park.

  72. I think I’ve found a new career for Prof. Caric, if someone can talk him into it. A little background:

    Michelle Wei has become a running joke in my golf-loving household for her use of the phrase “you know” every third or fourth word. I just watched an interview with a new player for the White Sox. In the course of answering just two questions, he used “you know” TWENTY-FIVE times.

    Perhaps as a service to all of us, Mr. Goldstein can interest the good professor in taking up instruction in public speaking, since the whole writing thing isn’t working out for him. Just a thought.

  73. Also.

    Never trust a group whose raison d’etre is to put themselves out of business unless all of the members already have day jobs. Nothing like the prospect of losing your income and having to abandon your idée fixe to make you undermine your own alleged project. I mean if there were no more meaning assigned to skin color than eye and hair color, what would people in the NAACP and Al Sharpton do?

    TW: 1519 simpletons; no, I’m pretty sure there are more than that

  74. Shorter Caric:

    “They’re very musical people…”

  75. And a bit of seriously scary insanity from a professor at one of my alma maters:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/26/opinion/26smith.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    Money quote:

    “If the current five-man majority persists in thumbing its nose at popular values, the election of a Democratic president and Congress could provide a corrective. It requires only a majority vote in both houses to add a justice or two.”

    I fear we may soon be living in some interesting times.

  76. “I fear we may soon be living in some interesting times.”

    So, the lil fellers gonna dance tonight? I keep coming back on Friday evenings, hoping to get another chance to watch him. It’s been quite a while now since he has put on a show but it’s worth the wait. Bojangles couldn’t touch him.

    BTW – Can you think of a better way to get Reps and Indies to the polls than a Dem packing scheme?

  77. I would add that the choice of topic show that the professor didn’t bother to read anything Jeff has written. I can’t imagine a topic that Jeff is more passionate and knowledgeable than group rights and multiculturist ideas.

    And let’s also note that the perfessor hasn’t once pointed to anything in his own body of work, presumably because there’s nothing there to point to.

  78. I found a draft he was working on, sourced entirely by the New Testament, alleging Jesus was crucified by Teh Patriarchy. Juvenile doesn’t begin to describe it.

  79. Oh Jeff – how I have truly missed this blog.

    My seven year old little boy picked up a wicked virus on my computer, and I have been to lazy to fix it for months. I have been unable to get on the net for a long time now.

    The first place I went to was PW, and I just have to say that you are as good as ever.

    Thanks a million times over.

    You da MAN!

  80. It adds up to oppression and there are a large number of African-American writers who portray blacks as an oppressed or persecuted group.

    Could that large number of writers, producing what must be a large output of writing, contribute to a continuing impression of oppression? There must be some good money in the Race Hustling business. Just ask the Rev. Jackson or the Rev. Sharpton. Why would someone in that business declare victory when it would mean having to — *gulp* — get a job?

  81. #24 Professor Blather:

    That is what I understood Prof. Caric to say. I may be wrong – I’m only a lawyer, not a semiotician or any other kind of language analyst. My training in textual analysis is only ‘look at what the legislature wrote, using a common dictionary for common terms and a legal dictionary for legal terms (and any case law defining those terms). That is what the legislature meant – wise, foolish, bizarre – no matter. The legislature can always revisit the matter and amend the staute.

    That analysis can, I assure you, result in some peculiar rulings.

  82. “And ALL OF US read that letter in 8th grade. And again in 12th grade.”

    Actually 5th and 9th,but I may be younger than you. IF I remember correctly. it was a “life lesson” in 9th grade Social Studies.

    As far as I know,the only time that it’s referenced today (My 2 kids schools) Is MLK day,and even then believe it or not, it’s used as a sort of parable. Like..”see what COULD have been” without our Liberal leaders…

    Have one that buys into that crap,have one that lived….

  83. Wow. There’s an intellectual lightweight in the playoff, but it ain’t Jeff.

    Caric’s response is just a 12-year-old’s temper-tantrum with a few four-syllable words thrown in haphazardly. Jeff’s response is like hitting a fly with a sledgehammer.

    If it weren’t for the fact that Caric is almost certainly incapable of realizing how badly he represents himself, you’d almost have to feel sorry for him.

    And AJB – though you’ve already had your response, I’d like to point out that while you may be a wonderful, bright, and erudite person, that was in fact a stupid question. Or you live in a bubble in a lab at Berkeley, in which case my apologies.

    Then again, it has been observed for decades if not centuries that the standard response to failure in the political realm is to redouble your efforts, which places you in good company, at the least.

  84. I would have been so pissed off about segregation if I was a black guy that I probably would have done something to get myself killed.

    Of course he would have. If Prof. Caric had been a German Jew he would have told the Nazis to shove their yellow stars straight up their asses too. Unlike the great majority of Jim Crow-era blacks, he’d have fought oppression without regard to his own safety. Prof. Caric can’t be bothered empathizing with the everyday men of ordinary courage who suffered oppression without fighting back. No, in their place he would have exhibited the courage of great men like MLK or Medgar Evars.

    Jeff’s support of a color-blind approach means he must be either too obtuse to see with Caric’s clarity, too callous to empathize as strongly as he does, or a closet racist. That this relieves Caric of any responsibility to address the substance of Jeff’s position and provides him a little ego boost for being so much smarter and more caring than Jeff is doesn’t make it a copout or anything.

    Also, the fact that a color-blind society wouldn’t allow diversity to trump qualification and would mean the loss of their control over the gateways to academia has nothing to do with Caric’s position, you fucking racist honkey wingnuts.

  85. I found a draft he was working on, sourced entirely by the New Testament, alleging Jesus was crucified by Teh Patriarchy. Juvenile doesn’t begin to describe it.

    OH the very thought makes me laugh.

  86. Big Bang Hunter: Let’s assume then that it’s been the benevolent WE WHO CARE mollycoddling that has established and perpetuated an infantile and hopeless underclass. Is it all black? Of course not. So quit muttering under your breath about failed social policy and be courageous enough to describe this blight.

    Could it be, like some poor sow with 25 sucklings hanging off her tits, this country is hauling around generations of people conditioned not because of race, but by social and cultural norms? Color doesn’t matter here; there’s your color-blind vision. It’s all those that generally start behind the line: the poor, the violent thugs, the trailer trash, the bad-choicers, the general marginals, the weak-willed, etc. that compose this demographic that we never hear about in polls or elsewhere. It’s like we have our own chavs, but they’re multicolored.

    My question to the brain trust is now what? Full speed ahead, icebergs be damned, or we yank the rug, flip off the light, and leave the room? Honestly, I haven’t hear a middle-ground proposal from either side. It’s bigger than an intellectual exercise.

  87. You really need to explain to me how left-wing policies are resulting in disparities that disenfranchise blacks. The Great Society programs lasted little more than a decade before being gutted by neoliberal economics in the late-seventies and the rise of the New Right in the 1980s. It’s positively absurd to blame the left for the plight of African-Americans when the left hasn’t had any real influence on economic or social welfare policy since 1979.

    Two ways, off the top of my head: crime and the state of the black family. Or rather, lack of black families. From the sixties through the nineties, it was liberals and liberal activists that gutted our justice system. The Miranda warning, warrants for searching–stop and think about who those protect, just for two examples. Do they protect the innocent party? The innocent party has nothing to confess and nothing to hide. They protect the guilty, and that was the trend for a very long time in criminal law. The words “got off on a technicality” were practically unheard-of before liberals got their hands on the courts.

    In 1950, the expected punishment for murder and negligent manslaughter was 2.3 years in prison. By 1970, this was 1.7 years. Prior to Miranda, criminologist Henry Pontell said 60% of California defendants pleaded guilty to the original top charge. After 1966–Miranda vs. Arizona–that figure dropped to 42%. Which means the criminals served less time in prison and were back out on the streets and committing more crimes sooner.

    How did this affect the black community? White people, who were on the whole wealthier, could move away. Get alarm systems. Rent apartments with a doorman and a security system. Poor black people had only the police and the justice system to protect them–a justice system that had been changed to protect the guilty rather than the innocent. The New York Times, during Guiliani’s reign of terror, even commented on it, with absolutely sidesplitting bewilderment: “Defying Gravity, Inmate Population Climbs,” they said in 1998. And continued: “The continued divergence between the shrinking crime rate and the rising rate of incarceration raises a series of troublesome questions…”

    What’s puzzling or troubling about it? It’s cause and effect: if the criminals are in prison, instead of terrorizing the ghettoes, the crime rate shrinks. I know, the logic is shocking. And we can thank liberals, “rehabilitation no matter what the cost!” for the harm their peculiar ideas about law enforcement have done to the black community. Gangs. Drugs. Vandals that become robbers and then murderers. It’s cyclical, partly from poverty and fatherlessness, partly because there’s no deterrent for committing crime, because crime is glamorized by the Hip-Hop and rap industries…a whole host of reasons, all of them enthusiastically supported by liberals.

    The damage to the family is even worse. In 1960, the illegitimacy rate for whites was 2%. For blacks, it was 23%. By 1999, 27% of white children were born out of wedlock, and 70% of black children were born out of wedlock. This translates directly to poverty. There are exceptions. But 2/3 of children born out of wedlock are poor, compared to 33% of children from divorce. Only 6.7% of children born to never-married mothers will reach their 18th birthdays without ever knowning a year of poverty. A white single mother is more likely to live in poverty than a black married couple. Marriage is a much larger determinant of fiscal success than the liberals that tore down the institution ever thought. And once again, it was blacks that were hardest hit by this tampering with the social fabric.

    You definitely can’t accuse conservatives of making the judicial system a daycare for the poor little criminals whose parents never loved them, and it certainly wasn’t conservatives that touted–and continue to tout–the glories of sexual ‘freedom,’ claimed marriage was an archaic method of maintaining the power of the patriarchy, or explained that fathers had become vestigial organs of an outdated time. You can look at any numbers you want; the recipe for success is marriage and children in that order. Anything else makes poverty more likely.

    But most unforgivable in my mind, and back to Jeff’s topic, is the race-hustling liberals are doing to keep the black vote–and it means that they tell blacks that their own government and an entire political party wants to get rid of them. It’s not just segregation or Jim Crow anymore, liberals are telling blacks that Republicans and conservatives literally want them dead. There was the lie that AIDS was created in a government lab to kill blacks and homosexuals. That crack was created to kill blacks. That Bush didn’t respond to Katrina because it was ‘just blacks’ dying, or that the Bush Administration blew up the levees to destroy black neighborhoods. Really? People seriously believe that Bush saw the devastation in New Orleans, and disregarding that he declared a state of emergency before the governor of that state, said, “Oh, they’re black. Well, take your time, FEMA.” No question there were failures all up and down the chain, but Bush let them die…because they’re black.

    Those are malicious lies deliberately repeated to make black people paranoid and angry. There’s an entire industry built to perpetuate that, aided wittingly or unwittingly by this idiot Caric. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton’s jobs depend on perpetuating racial strife. The Democrat party depends on the black vote to keep their power, and that means keeping blacks constantly fearful and angry of all those racists, wherever they are, though they’re damned hard to find these days. The sensitivity trainers at most major corporations would be unemployed if the race issue ceased to be an issue.

    As a final microcosm of this ludicrous situation, what were the firefighters and EMS personnel that came to New Orleans doing for the first three days of their stay? Sitting through racial and gender sensitivity training. That is the effect of liberals on the black community in a nutshell. They need a life raft and liberals throw them an anchor–all the while telling them that Republicans put them in the water in the first place.

  88. Am I the only one who didn’t know The Outer Limits first ran in the 60s?

  89. Just curious, Zoomie, why do you (and so many other reductionist righties) speak of “the blacks” as some kind of easily manipulated, politically expedient, and ultimately expendable, group that you can stand back and objectively analyze? And how have “the blacks” become the (illegitimate, obviously) stepchild of the liberals?

  90. My question to the brain trust is now what? Full speed ahead, icebergs be damned, or we yank the rug, flip off the light, and leave the room? Honestly, I haven’t hear a middle-ground proposal from either side. It’s bigger than an intellectual exercise.

    You haven’t heard a middle ground proposal? Well, for one thing, its hard to make policy until we know just what policy we’ll be reacting to — but as I’ve noted (in this post and others), I’m supportive of affirmative action based on lack of opportunity. Not quotas, mind you, but programs that reward hard working students of all colors who haven’t the economic comfort to achieve at a high level (with the exception of a few, well, exceptions).

    But for years, conservatives (and libertarians, and classical liberals) have been fighting for school choice — be it by way of voucher programs or charter schools, etc., and have met resistance from Dems, who rely on the teacher’s unions (and lawyers) for much of their political fundraising.

    If you haven’t already done so, I recommend reading America in Black and White.

  91. “Am I the only one who didn’t know The Outer Limits first ran in the 60s?”

    Well, yes Happyfeet, you are. It started in B&W too (that or I had a B&W TV at the time).

  92. Yeah well I bet you can’t name all the Transformers.

  93. “Yeah well I bet you can’t name all the Transformers.”

    That’s a safe bet! I’m not sure I even ever heard of them until General Motors made this new movie to promote their gas guzzlers!

  94. Just curious, Zoomie, why do you (and so many other reductionist righties) speak of “the blacks” as some kind of easily manipulated, politically expedient, and ultimately expendable, group that you can stand back and objectively analyze? And how have “the blacks” become the (illegitimate, obviously) stepchild of the liberals?

    When better than 80% of a demographic vote for a single party, there’s something deeper going on. When the rhetoric is as highly charged as some I’ve cited, and when people like Clarence Thomas, Michael Steele, and Bill Cosby are reviled for contradicting liberal dogma, there’s something worth noting. Throwing Oreo cookies at Michael Steele was obviously an act of liberal compassion for black people. As was stealing his credit report. This must be a brand of compassion I am unfamiliar with.

    If you’re trying to insinuate that I somehow think less of black people, or that I’m a closet racist (as so many of us right-wingers are, apparently), then what do you leave me with but, “uh, no, I’m not?” And a rambling defense about how I have black friends to prove my non-racist bonafides. So let’s skip that part, shall we? I could call you a knee-jerk lefty and probable Communist for using the word, “righties” but that wouldn’t be germane to a fact-based debate.

  95. “My question to the brain trust is now what? Full speed ahead, icebergs be damned, or we yank the rug, flip off the light, and leave the room? Honestly, I haven’t hear a middle-ground proposal from either side. It’s bigger than an intellectual exercise.

    – Honesty. Well honestly I’ve worked up close and personal with sevral layers of the so called underclass, and I can’t honestly say what you can do to change the mindset. there is simply a percentage of people who want, need, whatever, are determined to opt out. Its more than simple iconoclastic behavior. and I don’t know the answer, nor do I know if anyone knows the answer.

    – But one thing I do knowis they hold no truck with either side of the aisles idea’s of the manner, or even the need, to “help” them. A fair percentage of these individuals are simply not engaged. they might as well live on Mars. Tere is a total disconect, which is best seen when they are appraised of the need for personal change, and they look like you’re talking Martian to them. But again thats only a portion. there is a wide range of reasons that lead people to dispair, and subsequint difficulties in “getting along”, and never mind excelling. thats just not in the vocabulary. Tough problem. Tough problem.

    – Tough problems, that are so deeply entrenched, will not be fixed, or even improved by partisan bickering. I watch the entire process as political masterbation, and as such I do not discount efforts to analyze and try to come to a better understanding, but egregious self-serving agenda’s, such as mindless name calling, with the commensurate snd always faulty justification, is a total waste of time. I’m sure the more aware members of the Left know this, and thats why I don’t believe they really care, because they never miss an opportunity to divert from the real issue with political fodder.

    – Some of the more intellectual of the underclass I’ve worked with think both sides are idiots, and its hard to refute when almost everything either side does just worsens the situation in the long run. With that persistant condition and track record, you tell Me. What is there to be done? That can be done. Clearly society cannot afford to simply jetison a chunck of its own hereitage, now matter what the nature of its constituents. Maybe its one of those case by case “What would Jesus do” questions. I simply don’t have the answers. What’s more troubling is that know one seems to really try to address the problem except in abstract theoretical psycobabble.

  96. Nice. I’m a communist. I don’t even know what they wear.

  97. - As an adenddum to that last, there are a few brave thinkers who try to illuminate the real issues, such as Cosby, and what do they get for their trouble. Partisan planting of derisive retorts from the so called “sensitive” left portion of the victimhood industry.

    – Oh no. solutions that cut of paychecks. Can’t have that.

  98. In short, Mr. Caric wants to pin a ribbon on his pig; there’s a bigger pig in the pen that needs a festoon.

  99. - cynn… for what its worth I know you for some time on here, and I don’t think you’re a communist. Never crossed my mind.

    – But I have to agree with Zoomie in some area’s. When Harry Reid answers complaints about lack of meaningful legisalation since the Dems took the majority with “theres no doubt President bush is the worst President in the history of the country” as an excuse, there is sonethinf fundementally wrong with the system, maybe at a deeper nadir that ever before.

    – Sometines its the smaller tree’s that prove to be the most telling in the tale of the forest.

  100. Cynn may not be a pinko, but I got a ten spot says she owns a beret.

    And probably leg warmers.

    ;)

  101. - Goldenburg… the helmeted rat never showed, and its past your bedtime….vamonos

  102. jeff: I go for fishnets because the weather’s unpredictable. The rest, day bby day.

  103. TWEEEEEEEEEET!

    cynn, passive aggression by proxy, three point penalty, second diversion, reset and go!

    (Ask yourself who started objectifying “the blacks” in this conversation if it helps clarify things.)

    Referee might be convinced to knock a point off that penalty if she has fishnets AND a beret, because, come on, that’s hot.

    TW: “said: Mormon” Okay, it got this one wrong.

  104. “Cynn wore a rasberry beret…. the kind you find
    In a second hand store.”

    “Rasberry beret…. and when it warm she wouldn’t wear much more.”

    Bravo, Prince!!

  105. Just the other night I was riding the A train when a young black woman sitting alone went on a rage about the evil white people, how unfair white people are, that white people don’t believe in God because they believe they are God and so forth. A much older black man sitting closest to her took off his ear phones and told the black woman to ‘shut the fuck up’.

    Now would Caric consider the man who told the woman to’ shut the fuck up’ an uber-uber oppressor of blacks or is he being oppressed by the black poet reciting her artistic portrayal of an oppressed black?

    Everyone else just sat in silence as they watched the display of modern life before them.

  106. Nice. I’m a communist.

    Considering all the work #87 did for you…

    I don’t even know what they wear.

    …maybe you should at least flash something.

  107. “Am I the only one both amused and troubled that this alleged academic keeps using King’s ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ as his only source of evidentiary support.”

    “I don’t mind it.”

    I do. I know who we’re talking about here, but no sense letting standards slip just because the dog’s already in the manger. Caric should be showing off his academic muscle and enjoying the additional payout in this debate of all the time he’s spent reading his peers on the subject.

    Sadly, that’s too much to ask.

  108. Having left the academy myself – and having become increasingly disappointed with its growing anti-intellectualism (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) – I feel like I have a responsibility to shine a light onto its substance…

    Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton told college Democrats on Saturday she would create a national academy to train public servants.

    “I’m going to be asking a new generation to serve,” she said. “I think just like our military academies, we need to give a totally all-paid education to young men and women who will serve their country in a public service position.”

    An older woman carrying a sign that said “She doesn’t care, all she wants is the power” yelled at Clinton while the New York senator was speaking in a ballroom on the University of South Carolina campus. Students attending the College Democrats of America convention shouted down the woman down and pushed her from the room.

  109. sic on the down thing

  110. In Hillary’s America, a new ruling class of leftwing political bureaucrats will be indoctrinated and then deployed.

    They will stomp out “hate speech.”

    They will enforce “tolerance.”

    And they will rule with a big iron fist of enlightened benevolence.

    Sounds AWESOME.

  111. Okay, so, in Hillary World, there aren’t enough morally and philosophically inbred bureaucrats, so we need to form a new bureaucracy to pump them out like welfare babies.

    Exactly like welfare babies.

    Okay, so, anyone else want to argue that the left is still living on planet Earth? ‘Cause I just ain’t seein’ it from here.

    And spot-on, Jeff, should she be allowed to create it, it will be almost purely an indoctrination machine. We can refer to it as the Politburo.

    Damn, paste a moustache on that woman! It’s Stalin!

  112. This seems to resonate with Mr. Reynold’s post here.

    The tragedy, apparently, is that jobs in corporate America pay more than social activism.

    And lookit, we’re about to codify the subsidization of people who make “right-thinking” career choices.

    Other provisions expand loan forgiveness options for public-service careers, and forgive loans entirely after 20 or 25 years of repayment. Republicans and President Bush have opposed aspects of the aid reforms, but overall they do not appear to have focused on the loan repayment provisions.

    “The principle here is if you go to college and take out a reasonable amount of federal loans, you should be able to pursue your goals and career and life without having that debt drive your actions,” said Luke Swarthout, of the group U.S. PIRG, which lobbies for student aid.

    What Luke means is, liberals can use your student loan debt as leverage to direct your energies towards sanctioned employment. It’s like an invisible hand, only more better.

  113. So who gets to define “social activism?” Clinton and Swarthout?

    So that means “leftist social activism” gets a tax and debt break?

    Admittedly, the stranglehold the left has in the hallowed halls of academe has already started that process, but it’s still disgusting.

    TW: financed however, (jeepers!)

  114. If you studied prostitution, you’d be able to clear those debts in no time.

    The moral: It pays to study something saleable.

  115. I ran out of energy before I read the entire thread – please forgive me.
    I sure hope that that narcissistic asshole reads this far; we all know he’s drooling over the attention.

    I was in DC long enough ago that I remember the streetcars. I was there in 63. I was there when the Cherry Blossom Festival-goers panicked at the news of the assassination. I never read that letter in school because it was never taught in school until I was out of school and (can you believe it?) working for a living and trying to support a family.

    Mister Doctor “Ric” (and what’s with *that*?) appears to be a bullshit honky motherfucker. C’mon down here t’ 14th street and tell me about how you’re going to “save” the black folks, Massah Ric. Or, maybe, wallow in your position as chief self-anointed spokescreature for the benighted minorities at gimme-some-more-head state teachers college until the real revolutionaries come and blow your ass away – be careful what you wish for, fool.

    tw: agitation this. heh.

  116. Soooo….Jeff….When your kids are old enough, where on earth are you going to send them to college? My college experience in California changed my life for some number of years. I’m not saying that was a good thing. I would like my kids to get a more philosophically stable start to their adulthood. And it’s sooner than you think. I’m trying to teach them reason, but sometimes they say out loud something their teachers have said at school and it’s deja vu all over again.

    PS Required reading (or better yet, listen to her read her story in her own voice with audiobook): Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

  117. I just saw this–will try to respond before I go to family reunion on Friday.

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