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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Radical Baseball: Matinale: When did it become OK to call someone a racist?

See things have quieted down since the last meeting I took in where the only member of the Slats Marion Belongs in the HOF! group got in my face.

Yesterday I attended a baseball meeting in New York City.  There were about 100 people in the audience.  Two of the speakers explicitly called two Hall of Famers racists.  None of us said a word.

Speaker one talked about the subjects of two biographies she had written, repeatedly using vulgar language.  We remained silent for that also.  She described former Dodger manager Walter Alston as a racist.  Alston was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee as Manager in 1983.  Alston died on October 1, 1984 in Oxford, OH (Aged 72).

The other speaker was the president of the Hall of Fame.  In defending the voting results that have barred users of performance enhancing drugs (PED), presumably including steroids, he mentioned that Ty Cobb was a racist.  That is a familiar refrain and it was not surprising that no one objected.  Cobb was inducted into the Hall of Fame by BBWAA as Player in 1936 (222/226 ballots). Induction ceremony in Cooperstown held in 1939.  Cobb died on July 17, 1961 in Atlanta, GA (Aged 74).

Both Alston and Cobb are long gone and cannot defend themselves.  This post is not a defense but a question.

Repoz Posted: January 28, 2014 at 07:05 AM | 347 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   101. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4647319)
By the time the NYPD gets to the vast majority of the stop and friskees, they've already suffered from the bigotry of lower expectations that constitutes the very core of modern liberalism.


Yes, Bear-baby. It's all the liberals fault. Racism is really liberalism. It's like liberal fascism. History is just miswritten because of the liberal media.
   102. Morty Causa Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4647321)
Let's all stop dancing around the May pole and just be clear, shall we? Morty is complaining that people call him and/or others racist when they dare to boldly ask the purely intellectual question that no one in history has ever been strong enough to ask: "Are black people intellectually inferior to white people?"

Sure. If I, or anyone, asks that, or the opposite, why does that make them racist? Moreover, even they (or I) were, what's that got to do with the substance of that question. It's always bad to disapprove of any query based on threshold presumptions about character that is irrelevant to the proposition mooted. At least, as a purely intellectual matter. Why would you want to suppress intellectual query like that? Do you think that is good way of going about discovery wrt knowledge in general?
   103. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4647324)
You can't correct that by changing people's hearts; you have to correct policy through policy.


So what you're saying is that in order to counteract centuries of institutionalized oppression, you can't rely on purely negative action - i.e. "we will stop doing that and everything will magically be okay" - but must have some sort of proactive policy to backfill the harm done by previous generations of policy? What would we call that sort of thing? Maybe something like "affirmative" action, maybe?
   104. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4647325)
I hate to encourage Sam, but 103 made me LOL.
   105. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4647326)
If I, or anyone, asks that, or the opposite, why does that make them racist?


I don't know Morty. Why would a casual observer wonder if someone who asks a question that has been used for centuries to underpin white supremacy and the structural, racist oppression of black folk might have a secondary reason for asking? Why wouldn't they just close their eyes and pretend that we live in a world devoid of history altogether and assume that the question is posed for reasons of pure Kantian reason?
   106. Morty Causa Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4647331)
103:

No, the policy would be: no discrimination based on race, either like in the past or as envisioned to correct the past. Why? Because, duh, it just changes the riders on that horse, it doesn't eradicate the underlying problem. In fact, it perpetuates that which you claim to repudiate--unless you don't reject it if it's done for the right race? In which case, you've lost your moral momentum (if racism is good now, why wasn't it good back then?), and you are on the way to creating deep-seated resentment in an entire class of people. The majority class, which strikes at the very vitals of a community. You can't get around the fact that you are, Biblically even, holding the sons liable for the sins of the father. That's not a long-term winner, history has shown.
   107. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4647333)
So I take it that Lyndon Johnson, when he established the first affirmative action program, was a "racist", but otherwise it's a problematic term to throw around when applied to----whom, exactly? Ty Cobb? Jesse Helms? You tell me.

I don't throw it around when it comes to LBJ or Ty Cobb. But some do. And others do it when it comes to other people. That doesn't mean that in certain exact cases and instances it isn't applicable. But that's the point that's being objected to--it's thrown about all too promiscuously and indefinitely.


But if LBJ set a program that you've repeatedly called "racist" in motion, how does he escape the label?

It's not to be used as an all-purpose wild card whenever you want to put someone down. If X is a racist because he does Y, that can't mean that's all he does, or that it overrides everything he does.

I'd probably agree with that proposition the great majority of the time, depending on what the person's broadest legacy and contemporary selling points were.

To take two long gone examples: Huey Long, a product of his time, went along with the racial mores of his day. But he didn't try to inflame them, and his legacy, such as it is, lies wholly in the non-racial sphere. It would be historically absurd to lump him with the Bilbos and the Tillmans when it came to race, whatever you may think of him otherwise.

But then there are those like George Wallace or Jesse Helms, both of whom repeatedly stirred up racial resentments in a bid for political power. To say that they were nothing but "a product of their time" is way too dismissive of the ways that they went way beyond "their time" in trying to maintain white supremacy in full force.

As for Cobb, to me he's a combination of the racial attitudes of his time and a permanent chip-on-his-shoulder the size of a tree trunk, a combination found in abundance in the first half of the 20th century. You could argue either way about whether he's a "racist" in any meaningful sense of the word, but since he was a ballplayer and not a political agitator, it's at most a fragment of his overall portrait.
   108. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4647334)
Yes, Bear-baby. It's all the liberals fault. Racism is really liberalism. It's like liberal fascism. History is just miswritten because of the liberal media.

The argument you're "addressing" has literally nothing to do with "Liberal fascism," and it's nothing like it.

Non-whites are harmed greatly by the lowered expectations and lowered standards the modern liberal has desired and imposed, notwithstanding your efforts to parry and deflect. The deleterious impact of those things is far higher than the rantings and droolings of the Dixie cracker contingent.
   109. Morty Causa Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4647335)
Why would a casual observer wonder if someone who asks a question that has been used for centuries to underpin white supremacy and the structural, racist oppression of black folk might have a secondary reason for asking?

One almost wishes one could do like Cher in Moonstruck: wake up, get over it.

I say "intellectual" discussions/arguments, and you trump with "casual observer"?

   110. Greg K Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4647340)
That reminds me: TCM has three very good Michael Caine movies tonight. Get Carter's take on film noir is brutal. Pulp is an original--a surreal satire of film noir. And Gambit is just a fun caper movie.

Aside from His Girl Friday this might be the first Morty movie reference I know! I enjoyed Get Carter quite a bit when I saw it a couple months ago. Was my first taste of young Michael Caine (I guess maybe not if you count The Man Who Would Be King). Seeing the Italian Job a few weeks later just augmented things.

It also makes The Trip just that much more fun!

EDIT: I guess I've been way off on my early Michael Caine...I actually have seen him in Zulu (which was his earliest of these mentioned) and The Eagle Has Landed, and a Bridge Too Far (in his mid-70s catalogue).
   111. The Good Face Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4647345)
The NYPD comes immediately to mind. The entire criminal justice system is still racist in function.


Try again. Blacks commit a wildly disproportionate amount of crimes relative to their percentage of the population. You're misunderstanding fact-based policy and decisionmaking, and labelling it institutional racism. That's a common way for gentry liberals to status whore with like-minded people, but it's utterly unconnected with reality. The criminal justice system treats blacks differently because they behave differently. We don't need Sam's crazy conspiracy theories; we have reams of data over more than a century proving this as fact.

Because the country systematically works against the poor in a number of different ways, and African Americans are disproportionately poor as a consequence of past racism.


So they weren't poor back in the days of actual institutional racism, when they were doing much better?
   112. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4647347)
and you are on the way to creating deep-seated resentment in an entire class of people.


Yes, if black people would just stop demanding that they be treated like equal human beings we wouldn't have to worry about all of this white class resentment...

History is a sticky, place, Morty. You don't get to wish it away.
   113. Morty Causa Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4647349)
You can't correct that by changing people's hearts; you have to correct policy through policy.

I think I agree with this, if I'm understanding you.

Changing people's hearts requires changing the institution. And both require time. Time for people to change enough to change policy and institutions, and time for that to have an effect. And people and their policies and institution have a recursive effective on each other.

Rickey! is right in that any program that can be effected will have an eventual effect. But, what's the effect you want? A short-sighted one that has a new form of discrimination being used to combat a previous form that is now a deplored. You have done nothing to invalidate that tribal principle. How does that extirpate the cancer? It doesn't. It fosters it.
   114. Morty Causa Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4647356)
110:

Caine is a great actor/star. Truly great. He's just done so much crap, though, that we must hope that history winnows his body of work appropriately. Alfie, the anti-Bond Harry Palmer spy flicks (The Ipcress Files, Funeral in Berlin), The Last Valley (highly recommended--a historical film as a philosophical proposition),
   115. zonk Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4647358)

Rickey! is right in that any program that can be effected will have an eventual effect. But, what's the effect you want? A short-sighted one that has a new form of discrimination being used to combat a previous form that is now a deplored. You have done nothing to invalidate that tribal principle. How does that extirpate the cancer? It doesn't. It fosters it.


Isn't that how inoculations work?

We inject a weakened form of the illness into the body so that antibodies are built up, thus preparing the body to better fight the actual disease?
   116. AuntBea Posted: January 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4647359)
"It's true that my client did X, and it's also true that my client did Y, but what's really important here is that he didn't do Z."


Could Lincoln be a Racist?
   117. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:00 PM (#4647363)
So they weren't poor back in the days of actual institutional racism, when they were doing much better?


In the olden days, being poor wasn't nearly the sort of handicap that it is now. You could support yourself more easily on minimum wage, there were more and better options for public services, it was possible to get a good job that didn't involve a college degree (and college educations were much more affordable), etc. So the relative improvement for them as a result of the country's improvements in the area of race is more than subsumed by the impact of the country's decline in its ability to ensure legitimate opportunities for the poor.
   118. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4647366)
In the olden days, being poor wasn't nearly the sort of handicap that it is now. You could support yourself more easily on minimum wage, there were more and better options for public services, it was possible to get a good job that didn't involve a college degree (and college educations were much more affordable), etc. So the relative improvement for them as a result of the country's improvements in the area of race is more than subsumed by the impact of the country's decline in its ability to ensure legitimate opportunities for the poor.

You aren't talking, therefore, about "institutional racism," but instead "institutional classism." That certainly exists, leaving us still to ponder the issue of the modern liberal's mental and rhetorical cleaving of that aggrieved group by race.
   119. Morty Causa Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4647367)
History is a sticky, place, Morty.

Yes, it is.

You don't get to wish it away.

Après vous.
   120. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4647368)
A short-sighted one that has a new form of discrimination being used to combat a previous form that is now a deplored. You have done nothing to invalidate that tribal principle. How does that extirpate the cancer?


By showing the lie for what it is.

If in 1965 we had not required *affirmative action* - if we had just "stopped the negative action" and hoped for the best - all that would have happened is that policies previously enforced by "law" would have been enforced by "tradition." Black people would have still been denied equal access to every institution of consequence. By 1975 we would have been regaled by argument after argument from recalcitrant racists explaining "see, we changed the law and them darkies still ain't got no better" defending the white supremacy lie.

By requiring affirmative action, by forcing the hand, we have shown the lie to be a lie. No one outside of Steve Sailor and his acolytes takes the "black people are genetically inferior" argument seriously any more. Hell, we've progressed to the point where it's rightly a point of derision to even couch that as a question of "merit" because it's so thoroughly outdated and debunked.
   121. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4647369)
You aren't talking, therefore, about "institutional racism," but instead "institutional classism."


Actually, I'm talking about both. They're separate but related things, both of which affect the lives of poor African-Americans.
   122. bigglou115 Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4647381)
It's interesting this is showing up here, me and a friend (who I have no problem labeling racist*) were just discussing this as it pertains to our old law school. Basically, the school just announced that African Americans are now held to a lesser admittance standard than their Caucasian counterparts. I'm not sure where I come down on that. If it was a private school if say more power to them if that's what they want to do. And I've never really had an objection to a state school looking at 2 equal candidates and choosing a minority candidate to increase diversity (in fairness to the debate, I'll admit my reasons are pedagological). But there seems to me to be something wrong with this new system, which basically reduces African Americans to their race for the purposes of admission, at the very least it feels very "separate but equal" only without the equal. Of course, I'm also entirely against the lowering of admittance standards in general. My law school is a tier IV desperately trying to claw it's way up, so I guess increased diversity outweighs strength of admitting classes?

*He's an odd duck as far as his racism goes, he'll have no problem getting to know any given individual, and excepting them from his racist assumptions. Does that make him pseudo racist? Does my calling him a friend make me racist? Does the fact I call him out on anything change anything? I guess that's part of the point, it's a complicated issue and going back and calling historical figures out is impossible. For what it's worth, I think the question in TFA is "why didn't anybody defend them?" Which makes more sense. Amongst us, this debate can be had. Amongst writers, particularly those who's subject matter extends across multiple ideologies, raising your voice in a public version if this debate becomes very tricky. I do believe that's a bad thing.
   123. The Good Face Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4647383)
You aren't talking, therefore, about "institutional racism," but instead "institutional classism." That certainly exists, leaving us still to ponder the issue of the modern liberal's mental and rhetorical cleaving of that aggrieved group by race.


Correct. If we accept Vlad's argument at face value, then "institutional racism" isn't responsible for the problems of black Americans at all.

Also, he's apparently claiming that the modern welfare state and "War Against Poverty" has made things WORSE for poor Americans, since being poor was, according to him, much easier back in the olden days before we had any of that stuff. We'll make a good reactionary out of you yet Vlad!
   124. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4647386)
I agree that the naming of racists can be counterproductive; it makes racism into a personal failing, instead of a structural problem.

Were most 1940s-1950s whites racists? Who cares? What matters is that the government in that period poured enormous sums of money into wealth transfer programs to whites by deliberately excluding blacks from federally supported housing loans and from Social Security. You can't correct that by changing people's hearts; you have to correct policy through policy.


I agree 100% with this. There's an interpersonal level racism - the weird, racially charged social interactions and internet comments we see - and then there's a societal level racism - the stop and frisks, the structural results of decades of policies of housing segregation, etc. The interpersonal stuff is bad, but it's really small potatoes compared to the societal-level stuff. Racial epithets wouldn't be such a big deal if the societal-level issues weren't there.


   125. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4647387)
Also, he's apparently claiming that the modern welfare state and "War Against Poverty" has made things WORSE for poor Americans, since being poor was, according to him, much easier back in the olden days before we had any of that stuff.


I didn't think you could get dumber.
   126. Morty Causa Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4647395)
By showing the lie for what it is.

But you haven't done that, and can't do that by basing your correction on an inherently racist course of action--on more of the same in very principle, but applied to different classes and groups. It's self-defeating. You're living an absurdity.

You can't get off the Merry-Go-Round that way. Look, you want to change the game, or do you want to just game the change so that he benefits your team? If merely the latter, don't get righteous if your opponent feels the same and like you acts in accord. People know they have this one life, and they ain't living it for you and your sense of the rarefied. You don't have the bonafides to call someone to a higher purpose if you will not adhere to it.

   127. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4647403)
You're living an absurdity.


So are you, chief. I have the will to accept it.
   128. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4647404)
If we accept Vlad's argument at face value, then "institutional racism" isn't responsible for the problems of black Americans at all.


No, I'm saying that it's responsible for some of the problems of black Americans - just not all of them. Which I would have expected to be obvious.

Also, he's apparently claiming that the modern welfare state and "War Against Poverty" has made things WORSE for poor Americans, since being poor was, according to him, much easier back in the olden days before we had any of that stuff.


No, those are in general good things. They're just overwhelmed by other, more negative developments that have occurred in the intervening time.

Reading comprehension really isn't your strong suit, is it?
   129. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4647422)
By the way, as always when these affirmative action discussion come up, I think AA had a definite place, but at this point it should be put away and replaced by class (as in socio economic class) action laws, favoring the less well off in things like college admissions and such. I think increasing the ability of folks to generationally move out of "the poor" and move upwards is very important, and to the point that minorities are more poor they are helped more.
   130. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4647426)
No, those are in general good things. They're just overwhelmed by other, more negative developments that have occurred in the intervening time.

And one of the primary "negative developments" has been the modern liberal mental and rhetorical division of the aggrieved class by race, an endeavor that has placed great obstacles in the path of eradicating institutional classism. (The other is, of course, free trade, which has generated few if any discouraging words from the board's modern liberals.)
   131. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4647429)
And one of the primary "negative developments" has been the modern liberal mental and rhetorical division of the aggrieved class by race, an endeavor that has placed great obstacles in the path of eradicating institutional classism.


I disagree. As would, I assume, most people who aren't specifically trying to troll liberals.
   132. The Good Face Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4647434)
I didn't think you could get dumber.


Don't hate the playa Sam, hate the game. Turns out conspiracy theories and accusations of racism don't really measure up to data and science very well. You picked the wrong side, sorry buddy.

No, I'm saying that it's responsible for some of the problems of black Americans - just not all of them. Which I would have expected to be obvious.


Perhaps you need to articulate your "arguments" better. Are you claiming that there was more or less institutional racism in America at the time of Jim Crow as opposed to now? If the claim is "more" then you need to explain how so many things have gotten worse for blacks over those years. All you've come up with so far is "it was easier to be poor back in the good old days." Assuming arguendo you're 100% correct, it's pretty clear that institutional racism isn't a particularly powerful force when it comes to keeping blacks down.

No, those are in general good things. They're just overwhelmed by other, more negative developments that have occurred in the intervening time.


Such as? And for your claim to hold up, we'd need to see similar declines in other groups, such as whites, latinos, etc. And while family formation and employment rate has fallen for white Americans as well as blacks, it hasn't nearly matched the rate of decline we've seen among black Americans. Looks like you're back to the drawing board.

Reading comprehension really isn't your strong suit, is it?


Don't get angry that I'm tearing holes in your arguments. It'll make you a better thinker if you learn from it.
   133. Morty Causa Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4647435)
So are you, chief. I have the will to accept it.

If you believe that, and I don't for a second think you do, what's your beef? What's the basis of all the moral hauteur? It's the Cole Porter "Anything Goes" universal absolute that applies.

All right, we're expended a lot of words. The only thing left to decide: who do we feel righteous calling racists? And why?

I call a spade a spade (ahem). Most fundamentally, if you want to decide things (to parse out rights and goodies) by racial attributes and classifications, than it follows.... Now, you may think yourself a good racists, and others may differ with that adjective, but that's the definition of racial discrimination. The rest, as they say, is jockeying for poetic effect.
   134. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4647449)
Are you claiming that there was more or less institutional racism in America at the time of Jim Crow as opposed to now?


More.

If the claim is "more" then you need to explain how so many things have gotten worse for blacks over those years.


To quote myself in post #97, since you apparently didn't see it the first time I posted it: "Because the country systematically works against the poor in a number of different ways, and African Americans are disproportionately poor as a consequence of past racism."

it's pretty clear that institutional racism isn't a particularly powerful force when it comes to keeping blacks down.


Why would that be "clear"?

Such as?


Income stratification. The loss of unionized manufacturing jobs. The rising cost of higher education, and increasing importance of such. The failure of minimum wage to keep up with inflation. The decline of under-funded public services, including (but not limited to) elementary education and public transportation. The War on (Some) Drugs. Etc.

And for your claim to hold up, we'd need to see similar declines in other groups, such as whites, latinos, etc. And while family formation and employment rate has fallen for white Americans as well as blacks...


So we have seen similar declines in those groups, and as such my claim does hold up. I'm glad to see you acknowledge it.

...it hasn't nearly matched the rate of decline we've seen among black Americans.


Which is, as I previously noted, a consequence of the disadvantageous position in which most African Americans found themselves at the start of the decline, which was itself the result of the institutional racism they had faced in prior generations.

Don't get angry that I'm tearing holes in your arguments.


What holes would those be, exactly?
   135. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4647460)
What holes would those be, exactly?

I don't know if it's a "hole," but there has been an all-out war on the labor market and the prospects for those who have to sell their labor in that market for around 30 years, yet you (*) focus almost solely on a relatively small subset of the group impacted. That's what many of us find hard to understand, which leads to the genuine social criticism you regularly, for whatever reason, call "trollery."

(*) Not you alone, of course.
   136. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4647461)
Income stratification. The loss of unionized manufacturing jobs. The rising cost of higher education, and increasing importance of such. The failure of minimum wage to keep up with inflation. The decline of under-funded public services, including (but not limited to) elementary education and public transportation. The War on (Some) Drugs. Etc.


You forgot deregulation and the defunding of the public purse via tax rate slicing for the well off. I suspect you didn't forget them, but merely implied them. Still.

I doubt Face grasps this, of course. He's too bent on his ideological position to see sense on the subject.
   137. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 28, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4647466)
You forgot deregulation and the defunding of the public purse via tax rate slicing for the well off.

These have virtually nothing to do with the decline in prospects for the poor, working class, or middle class -- particularly when measured against the attacks on the labor markets.
   138. The Good Face Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4647479)
To quote myself in post #97, since you apparently didn't see it the first time I posted it: "Because the country systematically works against the poor in a number of different ways, and African Americans are disproportionately poor as a consequence of past racism."


But they were poor 60 years ago and things were much better for them, despite the existence of REAL institutional racism.

Why would that be "clear"?


See above. When we had poor people and lots of institutional racism, we had X results on things like family formation, employment rates, incarceration rates. Now, we have poor people + very little (or no) institutional racism and X has gotten much, much worse. So how could institutional racism be anything but a weak effect under your own logic?

Income stratification. The loss of unionized manufacturing jobs. The rising cost of higher education, and increasing importance of such. The failure of minimum wage to keep up with inflation. The decline of under-funded public services, including (but not limited to) elementary education and public transportation. The War on (Some) Drugs. Etc.


Some of those "factors" are not actually true, but again, assuming arguendo they are, they don't explain why the rates for poor blacks have dropped far more than the rates of other poor people. You've claimed that poverty is somehow "different" now, but if so, we'd expect to see all poor people equally affected. They're not. Also, many of your factors are simply irrelevant for this sort of comparison; impoverished people 60 years ago rarely had unionized jobs or higher education.

Which is, as I previously noted, a consequence of the disadvantageous position in which most African Americans found themselves at the start of the decline, which was itself the result of the institutional racism they had faced in prior generations.


So you're claiming that black people are more disadvantaged now than they were under Jim Crow? If not, wouldn't we expect them to be doing better? And if so, isn't that an argument for the efficacy of Jim Crow laws?

   139. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4647490)
i have had several granddaughter boyfriends call me racist over the years. just figure it's the hip thing among young people these days

   140. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4647491)
I guess it'd depend what kind of "props" Chuck gave him


Don't know if this got answered, however, from "Bring the Noize"

Farrakhan's a prophet
and I think you oughta listen to
what he can say to you
what you oughta do
   141. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4647492)
But they were poor 60 years ago and things were much better for them, despite the existence of REAL institutional racism.


By what criteria were they better off 60 years ago than today? Or is this another "social trust" where the metrics say they are better off now, but because of reasons everyone is worse off now?

And when you cherry pick your statistics on the things that they are worse off, feel free to show how whites from the same starting socio-economic class have fared. Because that is the central point, isn't it?

Because I think in absolute terms they are better off, but relative to whites starting in the same economic conditions they are worse off. And relative to whites in better economic conditions all the poor are worse off. Which is what one would expect with a mixture of class war waged against the poor combined with racism against blacks.
   142. Baldrick Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4647494)
No, the policy would be: no discrimination based on race, either like in the past or as envisioned to correct the past. Why? Because, duh, it just changes the riders on that horse, it doesn't eradicate the underlying problem. In fact, it perpetuates that which you claim to repudiate--unless you don't reject it if it's done for the right race? In which case, you've lost your moral momentum (if racism is good now, why wasn't it good back then?),

Have you suffered significant brain damage recently?

Please note that I'm not saying you HAVE. I'm just asking a question. As a purely intellectual exercise.
   143. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4647498)
You can't discuss attacks on the labor markets without discussing deregulation and the rise of the libertarian-"makers" class ethos under Reagan and his acolytes.
   144. Baldrick Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4647501)
I agree, BTW, that the word 'racist' probably ought to be used significantly less, if only because it causes endlessly stupid internet arguments and allows people like the nincompoops here to pretend that they have a moral high ground.

I really don't f-ing care whether you personally Are A Racist. What I care about is that you are absolutely and unquestionably a massive beneficiary of a society in which being white confers enormous advantages. So am I. And it seems pretty clear that such a society, where the color of your skin controls so much about what sort of life is available to you, is incredibly unjust. So we ought to do something about it. That something clearly can't be 'individual people stop being racist.'

So what's your solution? Is there any sort of acceptable public policy mechanism for combatting such rampant injustice? Do you think there isn't a problem?

And, more importantly, do you ever get involved in conversations about race that do not focus on the hurt feelings of those who are accused of racism? Even if we were to all accept that such hurt feelings are a legitimate problem (just for the sake of argument), do you really think that matters even 1/1000th as much as the actual material conditions of race in America?
   145. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4647504)
i have had several granddaughter boyfriends call me racist over the years. just figure it's the hip thing among young people these days

Did any of them live to tell about it?
   146. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4647515)
You can't discuss attacks on the labor markets without discussing deregulation and the rise of the libertarian-"makers" class ethos under Reagan and his acolytes.

Yet free trade has very little to do with Reagan, et. al. Free trade emerged as US policy to buy allies in the Cold War by giving them access to our markets, without requiring the same from them.

Of course that rationale is long gone, but we don't reassess because it benefits the upper classes (both conservatives and liberals alike).
   147. GregD Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4647520)
Yet free trade has very little to do with Reagan, et. al. Free trade emerged as US policy to buy allies in the Cold War by giving them access to our markets, without requiring the same from them.
At the same time we required both western Europe and Japan to purchase industrial products from us, so it was a particular type of free trade. Those requirements faded over time, and then in the 1970s Carter--who had campaigned on breaking the union hold over the Democratic Party--negotiated a series of tariff revisions and trade agreements with Japan that very quickly decimated the steel industry and spread outward.

So there are some differences in the post-1970s free trade arrangements from the immediate Cold War ones (and differences too in post-1990s NAFTA and China arrangements) but I agree with you that Reagan was only a small piece of the story.

I still think that a protectionist third party candidate could gain major traction since it is one of the issues that the two-party system does not produce two distinct choices. (I wouldn't vote for that candidate but I think he or she would get support.)
   148. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4647522)
What I care about is that you are absolutely and unquestionably a massive beneficiary of a society in which being white confers enormous advantages. So am I.

Except that really isn't true (in part from what I noted upthread), or at least certainly isn't proven. At this point it's a bromide right up there with "Proven Closer," and should be treated as such. (The terms "massive" and "enormous" tend to be signals that we're not really dealing with a great deal of rigor. Whatever advantages accrue to whiteness qua whiteness in 2013 aren't even close to "enormous.")

And it seems pretty clear that such a society, where the color of your skin controls so much about what sort of life is available to you, is incredibly unjust.

This is true, but superficial.(*) The "sort of life available to you" depends a lot on your parents and socioeconomic circumstances of your birth and acculturation and therefore certain skin colors are disproportionately disadvantaged -- in large part because of the rise in classism in the United States in recent decades. But it's those other things, not the skin color itself, driving the results.

(*) And again with the "incredibly."
   149. The Good Face Posted: January 28, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4647525)
By what criteria were they better off 60 years ago than today? Or is this another "social trust" where the metrics say they are better off now, but because of reasons everyone is worse off now?


I've already listed 3 critical metrics. Family formation/single motherhood rates, labor participation rates, and incarceration rates. How good a population is at forming and maintaining stable family units, getting/staying employed, and staying out of prison. Those are extremely important and meaningful factors in evaluating the success or lack thereof of any given group of people, and serve as a perfectly reasonable proxy for "better off-ness" or "worse off-ness".

And when you cherry pick your statistics on the things that they are worse off, feel free to show how whites from the same starting socio-economic class have fared. Because that is the central point, isn't it?


No, the central point is that "institutional racism" is a red herring. It cannot be responsible for the ills that afflict black Americans today when black Americans didn't suffer those ills to anywhere near the same extent during the days when it was real, pervasive, and enforced by actual institutions.
   150. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4647561)
But they were poor 60 years ago and things were much better for them, despite the existence of REAL institutional racism.


Yes, because as I noted in #128, African Americans are disproportionately members of the lower classes as a result of the institutional racism of the past, and current governmental policies affecting the lower classes have a negative effect on lower class African Americans that is greater in magnitude than the positive effects resulting from the decrease in institutional racism for those same lower-class African Americans.

So how could institutional racism be anything but a weak effect under your own logic?


First, the relevant consideration is not the size of the effect of institutional racism but rather the change in the size of the effect of institutional racism over the time period in question. If you start with something very large, and take a moderate amount away, you'll still have something very large left.

Second, simply noting that the negative effects of the institution of class-related policies are larger than the positive effects resulting from the decrease in institutional racism only gives you information about the relative sizes of those two quantities - it does not actually say anything about the size of either thing (i.e. very large) as isolated quantities unto themselves.

they don't explain why the rates for poor blacks have dropped far more than the rates of other poor people.


Because other external factors (such as the remaining degree of institutional racism) are also at work.

You've claimed that poverty is somehow "different" now, but if so, we'd expect to see all poor people equally affected. They're not.


Poor people are affected fairly equally by poverty, but poverty is not the only factor affecting the lives of poor people.

Also, many of your factors are simply irrelevant for this sort of comparison; impoverished people 60 years ago rarely had unionized jobs or higher education.


a) Unionized workers 60 years ago were not impoverished. The loss of those unionized jobs has forced those workers to rely on jobs with lower pay and fewer benefits (when they are able to find jobs at all), with a corresponding effect on their quality of life.

b) 60 years ago, you didn't need higher education in order to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle. Which is again, kind of the whole point. Lower-class people of all types have less ability to improve their circumstances than they did in the past, because career advancement now largely depends on access to educational opportunities that are extremely difficult for them to achieve (both due to the increasing cost of education and the decreasing preparedness of public school students from poor districts for the collegiate academic environment).

So you're claiming that black people are more disadvantaged now than they were under Jim Crow?


No. I have no idea what would lead you to draw that conclusion.

If not, wouldn't we expect them to be doing better?


I wouldn't, because I understand the effects of changes in class-related economic policies between the two eras and how those mask the effects of the decrease in institutional racism over that time period. I'm not sure what you would expect, or why, because you aren't making much sense.
   151. Ron J2 Posted: January 28, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4647562)
#114 I know I've told the story before but it's one I like a lot. In a fairly in depth interview with Caine the interviewer felt comfortable enough told ask him why he appeared in so many terrible movies.

He made a quip -- their checks cleared or something very similar. And then gave a longer version (that amounted to the same thing. He paid his bills by acting and if the material was no good he gave it his best). He also explained that he never directed because it wasn't a cost-effective use of his time. In the time it takes to see a movie all the way through he could act in several others.

In the same interview he also said something to the effect that he'd take any role if they were shooting in a location he liked.

   152. The Good Face Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4647595)
current governmental policies affecting the lower classes have a negative effect on lower class African Americans that is greater in magnitude than the positive effects resulting from the decrease in institutional racism for those same lower-class African Americans.


This is an unsupported conclusion AND you're conflating governmental policy with societal and economic changes. Where's your evidence for this claim? And why don't these policy changes affect other impoverished groups the same way? If anything, other groups of poor people should be HARDER hit by these supposed economic/social/political changes (that somehow magically make being poor worse) since they're not benefitting from a reduction in institutional racism. But they're not.

First, the relevant consideration is not the size of the effect of institutional racism but rather the change in the size of the effect of institutional racism over the time period in question. If you start with something very large, and take a moderate amount away, you'll still have something very large left.


Again, where's the evidence? If you're going to claim that the difference between Jim Crow and now is only a "moderate" reduction in institutional racism, you need to provide evidence. Not gonna hold my breath here. But again, we went from a very large amount of what you insist is a very bad, no good, awful thing to a significantly smaller amount and THINGS GOT MUCH WORSE. And you can't explain the mechanism responsible for that.

Second, simply noting that the negative effects of the institution of class-related policies are larger than the positive effects resulting from the decrease in institutional racism only gives you information about the relative sizes of those two quantities - it does not actually say anything about the size of either thing (i.e. very large) as isolated quantities unto themselves.


How is this not an indictment of the liberal War on Poverty if you're claiming class-related policies over the past 60 years have made things so much worse? This current state of affairs is YOUR baby. You and your ilk built it. It's time to own it. You folks are always insisting the right wants to turn back the clock to the 50s and claiming that's a horrible thing. Make up your minds.

a) Unionized workers 60 years ago were not impoverished. The loss of those unionized jobs has forced those workers to rely on jobs with lower pay and fewer benefits (when they are able to find jobs at all), with a corresponding effect on their quality of life.


We have to compare apples to apples. Poor people in the 1950s didn't belong to unions. Saying that, "if they did belong to unions they wouldn't be poor" is question begging.

b) 60 years ago, you didn't need higher education in order to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle. Which is again, kind of the whole point. Lower-class people of all types have less ability to improve their circumstances than they did in the past, because career advancement now largely depends on access to educational opportunities that are extremely difficult for them to achieve (both due to the increasing cost of education and the decreasing preparedness of public school students from poor districts for the collegiate academic environment).


More question begging. The fact that people in the 50s didn't need higher education to not be poor isn't relevant because we're talking about people who WERE poor.

So you're claiming that black people are more disadvantaged now than they were under Jim Crow?


No. I have no idea what would lead you to draw that conclusion.


You claimed that the decline in black American outcomes over the past 60 years was due to the disadvantaged position they found themselves in at the start of the decline. But the start of the decline coincides with the Civil Rights movement, and has been gaining steam ever since. So it stands to reason that you believe black Americans are increasingly disadvantaged as they move through time and things get increasingly worse for them.

I wouldn't, because I understand the effects of changes in class-related economic policies between the two eras and how those mask the effects of the decrease in institutional racism over that time period.


No, you're wishcasting and hoping I let it slide.
   153. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4647599)
I've already listed 3 critical metrics. Family formation/single motherhood rates, labor participation rates, and incarceration rates. How good a population is at forming and maintaining stable family units, getting/staying employed, and staying out of prison. Those are extremely important and meaningful factors in evaluating the success or lack thereof of any given group of people, and serve as a perfectly reasonable proxy for "better off-ness" or "worse off-ness".


OK. And the second two can largely be explained by institutional racism. If there is discrimination against blacks in hiring across much of society* then of course their labor participation would be lower than whites. Similarly if there is institutional racism in the Justice system* then one would expect higher rates of blacks incarcerated.

As for the Family formation, as far as I know family formation has dropped across most demographics (in terms of marriage). I believe it is worse in some demographics. Allegorically that is all the fault of liberal welfare policies. I suspect those policies did contribute to it in terms of an unintended side effect. I am not willing to assert that is the whole cause though or even that lesser family formation is unambiguously bad. It can be bad, but doesn't have to be.

I find it interesting that there are no numbers attached to your claims though, and you are ignoring things like income (absolute and relative), life expectancy (relative and absolute) and educational attainment (absolute and relative).

In fact none of what you are saying is in relation to what also happened to lower class whites over the time period in question, which renders the whole discussion a bit silly.

* And really there is zero doubt there is racism in both the justice system and in hiring.
   154. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4647601)
Lots of people have tried to "get right" with Lincoln; Eric Foner has a careful exploration of Lincoln's shifting view of race in his recent book. It argues Lincoln always hated slavery but shared the common views of black inferiority for most of his life, perhaps had come to doubt them in the late 50s and then his encounters with black people in Washington D.C. shifted him toward at least an openness to equality by 1863-65.

I've always thought that much of the "contradiction" in Lincoln's views on race can be explained by the politics of his time. It was difficult to win elections with just the anti-slavery vote - not enough people were ready to address it as an important moral issue. Lincoln coupled his anti-slavery views with an appeal to Negro-phobes by arguing that the expansion of slavery would bring Negroes into undesirable proximity and competition with Whites, and that Negro enslavement was a step toward enslavement of poor Whites. Not sure anyone can say precisely where the dividing line was between political posturing and sincere belief, but judging isolated Lincoln statements by today's standards isn't likely to lead to a fuller understanding. Perhaps it's enough to just acknowledge how much Lincoln stood out in his own time.
   155. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:31 PM (#4647606)
OK. And the second two can largely be explained by institutional racism. If there is discrimination against blacks in hiring across much of society* then of course their labor participation would be lower than whites. Similarly if there is institutional racism in the Justice system* then one would expect higher rates of blacks incarcerated.

Not really, because those things have gotten worse on those metrics since, say, 1945. At that time, institutional racism was much, much worse.

In the time of full bore, Jim Crow racism, black males had a higher labor force participation rate than white males, and the black out-of-wedlock birth rate was lower than it is for whites today.
   156. The Good Face Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4647618)
OK. And the second two can largely be explained by institutional racism. If there is discrimination against blacks in hiring across much of society* then of course their labor participation would be lower than whites. Similarly if there is institutional racism in the Justice system* then one would expect higher rates of blacks incarcerated.


Snapper has already addressed the labor issue. And WRT incarceration, a far greater percentage of black Americans are incarcerated now than 60 years ago, when institutional racism was actually a real thing.

I am not willing to assert that is the whole cause though or even that lesser family formation is unambiguously bad. It can be bad, but doesn't have to be.


No, single parenthood is pretty much unambiguously bad. Yes, it works out sometimes, but the numbers are worse in pretty much every imaginable metric. There are certainly a few circumstances where single parent households would be an improvement for a given kid's future outlook, but there's no ambiguity on the numbers as a whole; single parent households are just worse. It's in large part why I support government funded birth control and abortions.

* And really there is zero doubt there is racism in both the justice system and in hiring.


There's plenty of doubt, at least with respect to institutional racism. I'm sure YOU have zero doubt, but that's not really the same thing.
   157. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4647619)
In the time of full bore, Jim Crow racism, black males had a higher labor force participation rate than white males, and the black out-of-wedlock birth rate was lower than it is for whites today.


Just because Jim Crow was horrible does not mean that across every possible metric it was worse than the current system. That is a ridiculous standard. Especially since you are looking at total participation rates and not the jobs.

For example back in the day there were plenty of bad paying jobs for blacks and basically zero (there are a very few exceptions) executive type jobs, jobs in positions of power.

Now the overall participation rate is lower, but there are many more opportunities in positions of power. For example the CIO at the company I consult at who was just hired is a black man. I am willing to bet that "C" level black's in MN during Jim Crow were basically unicorns.

You seem to want to pretend that simply because there are lower labor participation rates that black males are worse off, and I think that is very simplistic. In many ways everyone at a very low socio-economic class is worse off now than back in the day (in relative terms only, in absolute terms pretty much everyone is better off in aggregate), so you have to control for that.
   158. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4647622)
Well, let's see. He says in his piece that he heard the thing about Alston at "a baseball meeting in New York City" on 1/25/14. My guess is that it was the SABR Day meeting at the NY Public Library. Which, per the event description on SABR's site, would make "speaker one", the woman who spoke about Alston, author Jane Leavy.

Leavy has written, among other things, a biography of Sandy Koufax, and in this interview about that book she alludes to problems in the relationship between Alston and Koufax and speculates that Koufax's Jewish status may have played a role in that. She also refers to it in this piece she had written for Sports Illustrated, about ten years ago.

So if my assumptions are accurate, the speaker was speaking about Alston, but was accusing him of a different sort of racism than this piece would suggest. Which means that all the stuff about how fairly Alston treated black people kind of beside the point, as far as the speaker's claim is concerned.

This is definitely a possibility for what Matinale was talking about. If so, I'd definitely be interested to learn what was actually discussed (and, actually, I had been hoping that would be the direction in which this thread would go, but when I returned to it later [i.e. now] it appears to have gone elsewhere, in an unsurprising, but disappointing, direction).
   159. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:49 PM (#4647623)
And WRT incarceration, a far greater percentage of black Americans are incarcerated now than 60 years ago, when institutional racism was actually a real thing.


So because you assert institutional racism no longer exists it doesn't? The fact that so many more blacks are incarcerated is evidence that in some ways institutional racism is worse than it was. The drug laws for example are extremely racist in how they have been enacted and are enforced, and those laws account for a huge percentage of the disparity you are talking about.

Look, Jim Crow was worse than today in aggregate. But like I said above that does not mean that in every metric possible everything is worse under Jim Crow than today. Racism did not magically disappear one day, it is still with us. Mostly we are in better shape, and in a few instances we are in worse shape.
   160. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4647626)
. . . for Pete's sake, Walter Alston is being called a racist here b/c he may have had a bad relationship with one Jewish guy.

Given the degree that he under-performed his talent for the first 6 years of his career, a lot of managers would likely have had a bad relationship with Koufax. To get back to the original topic, it strikes me as irresponsible to label Alston, or his actions, as "racist" without providing an explanation as why the label fits. With Cobb, I think you can argue that much of the audience was familiar with his history, but I don't see how you can make that claim for Alston.
   161. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4647627)
Just because Jim Crow was horrible does not mean that across every possible metric it was worse than the current system. That is a ridiculous standard. Especially since you are looking at total participation rates and not the jobs.

For example back in the day there were plenty of bad paying jobs for blacks and basically zero (there are a very few exceptions) executive type jobs, jobs in positions of power.

Now the overall participation rate is lower, but there are many more opportunities in positions of power. For example the CIO at the company I consult at who was just hired is a black man. I am willing to bet that "C" level black's in MN during Jim Crow were basically unicorns.

You seem to want to pretend that simply because there are lower labor participation rates that black males are worse off, and I think that is very simplistic. In many ways everyone at a very low socio-economic class is worse off now than back in the day (in relative terms only, in absolute terms pretty much everyone is better off in aggregate), so you have to control for that.


I didn't say black males are worse off, that would be absurd. And of course the opportunities have increased for the best and brightest in the black community. Though, to be fair, there were a lot of executive and professional careers open to blacks, they were just in segregated businesses.

What I said was a prominent indicator of the health of black families (the number of men who work and support their families) has gone down. Institutional racism can't explain that decline.

Why were the white under Jim Crow happy to hire blacks for shitty jobs back then, but presumably less racist people today are not willing to hire blacks for shitty jobs today?
   162. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4647629)
And WRT incarceration, a far greater percentage of black Americans are incarcerated now than 60 years ago, when institutional racism was actually a real thing.


See here:

Prison sentences of black men were nearly 20% longer than those of white men for similar crimes in recent years, an analysis by the U.S. Sentencing Commission found.
[...]
The Supreme Court, in the 2005 case U.S. v. Booker, struck down a 1984 law that required federal district judges to impose a sentence within the range of the federal sentencing guidelines, which are set by the commission.

The law was meant to alleviate the disparity in federal sentences, but critics say placing restrictions on judges can exacerbate the problem by rendering them powerless to deviate from guidelines and laws that are inherently biased. An often-cited example is a federal law that created steeper penalties for crack-cocaine offenses, which are committed by blacks more frequently than whites, than for powder-cocaine offenses. Congress reduced the disparity in 2010.

In the two years after the Booker ruling, sentences of blacks were on average 15.2% longer than the sentences of similarly situated whites, according to the Sentencing Commission report. Between December 2007 and September 2011, the most recent period covered in the report, sentences of black males were 19.5% longer than those for whites. The analysis also found that black males were 25% less likely than whites in the same period to receive a sentence below the guidelines' range. - Joe Palazzolo, The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2013

   163. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4647632)
But Vlad, wouldn't blacks have gotten longer sentences back in the 1940's and 1950's too? Especially in the South..

I'm not saying what you quoted is wrong. I'm just saying I don't understand why it would have gotten worse since the days where there was out-in-the-open institutional racism.
   164. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:03 PM (#4647634)
Why were the white under Jim Crow happy to hire blacks for shitty jobs back then, but presumably less racist people today are not willing to hire blacks for shitty jobs today?


We would need to look at the hiring of everyone across shitty jobs and compare how blacks have fared versus whites to untangle the impact of the various factors (Racism versus the systematic harm done to the economic prospects of everyone who is poor - AKA class war).

Also not even all shitty jobs are the same. For example the various economic events impact different demographic groups differently. Housing and construction changes impact men much more than women. That does not mean that over a time period attitudes towards women in the work force change just because male/female work force participation rates change, changes that impact certain sectors can also be an explanation.

It is not as simple as just "hey rates have changed therefore ...", reality is complex. What is the saying, for every complex problem there is an answer that is simple, clear and totally wrong.
   165. Gonfalon B. Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4647636)
Barack Obama, who was legally a bastard in much of the U.S. until he was six years old, needed an embarrassing amount of time to "evolve" on the difficult puzzle of gay marriage. I think we can give Abraham Lincoln a pass on the way he negotiated his feelings and the politics of his era.
   166. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4647638)
But Vlad, wouldn't blacks have gotten longer sentences back in the 1940's and 1950's too? Especially in the South..

I'm not saying what you quoted is wrong. I'm just saying I don't understand why it would have gotten worse since the days where there was out-in-the-open institutional racism.


Obviously. That seems to be passing over a lot of heads.

Whatever racial disparities we find in social research in "institutional" treatment of the various races in 2013 were almost certainly way worse in 1950 and 1955 and 1960.

As to the merits of this recent study, assuming the methodology was robust (*), it means that if a white guy got 5 years for a crime, a black guy would get 5 years and 9 months (or so). That certainly isn't good, or even justifiable -- but let's not try to pretend that disparity is determinative of, really, anything.

(*) "Similarly situated" is doing a lot of work there.
   167. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4647641)
We would need to look at the hiring of everyone across shitty jobs and compare how blacks have fared versus whites to untangle the impact of the various factors (Racism versus the systematic harm done to the economic prospects of everyone who is poor - AKA class war).

Also not even all shitty jobs are the same. For example the various economic events impact different demographic groups differently. Housing and construction changes impact men much more than women. That does not mean that over a time period attitudes towards women in the work force change just because male/female work force participation rates change, changes that impact certain sectors can also be an explanation.

It is not as simple as just "hey rates have changed therefore ...", reality is complex. What is the saying, for every complex problem there is an answer that is simple, clear and totally wrong.


All fair. But, I'm not proposing a "simple, clear" answer. It most likely is a very complicated dynamic.

I'm just noting a negative trend on a particular indicator, and noting that this negative trend has occurred in spite of a massive increase in the legal and social status of blacks. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that institutional racism has massively increased its negative impact in these one or two areas, while declining everywhere else.
   168. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4647644)
Where's your evidence for this claim?


Where's your evidence for yours?

And why don't these policy changes affect other impoverished groups the same way?


They do affect other impoverished groups in the same way. But because African Americans make up a disproportionate percentage of the poor (as a result of institutional racism in earlier years), anything affecting the poor will exert a disproportionate effect on African Americans as a racial/ethnic group.

If anything, other groups of poor people should be HARDER hit by these supposed economic/social/political changes (that somehow magically make being poor worse) since they're not benefitting from a reduction in institutional racism. But they're not.


Math does not work that way.

Again, where's the evidence? If you're going to claim that the difference between Jim Crow and now is only a "moderate" reduction in institutional racism, you need to provide evidence.


Again, why are you asking me for evidence, when you have provided none yourself?

(For at least half of the stuff you're writing in this thread, I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say, so I would be hard-pressed to respond to it with evidentiary support, even if I were inclined to waste time looking up sources that I'm pretty sure you wouldn't understand.)

But again, we went from a very large amount of what you insist is a very bad, no good, awful thing to a significantly smaller amount and THINGS GOT MUCH WORSE. And you can't explain the mechanism responsible for that.


Yes, I can, and have. See #117, #128, #134, and #150.

How is this not an indictment of the liberal War on Poverty if you're claiming class-related policies over the past 60 years have made things so much worse?


Because the policies to which I am referring were, in the main, the work of Republicans.

We have to compare apples to apples. Poor people in the 1950s didn't belong to unions.


I am comparing apples to apples. Union workers in the 1950s weren't poor specifically because they had good union jobs that paid them enough to provide financial security. Removing access to those jobs has had a negative effect on the personal circumstances of analogous workers in later years.

The fact that people in the 50s didn't need higher education to not be poor isn't relevant because we're talking about people who WERE poor.


I'm talking about the reasons for continued poverty among low-income African Americans in the modern day, despite gains that have been made W/R/T institutional racism. I'm not sure what you're talking about, because you seem to be all over the place.

As the bar for entry to middle-class employment has been raised (due to such factors as the greater need for higher education and the higher cost of a degree), the poor (including poor African Americans) have become less able to better themselves.

But the start of the decline coincides with the Civil Rights movement...


No, it doesn't. The Civil Rights movement existed long before that.

No, you're wishcasting and hoping I let it slide.


Why would I wish for things to become worse for African Americans?
   169. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4647645)
But Vlad, wouldn't blacks have gotten longer sentences back in the 1940's and 1950's too? Especially in the South..


See the bit about drug sentencing. Not only are sentences generally longer for African Americans these days, but the criminal code contains structural inequalities that disproportionately affect the number of charges faced by African Americans as well as the length of sentences in cases of identical offenses. There wasn't a War on Drugs in the 1940s and 1950s.

A few statistics from the NAACP:

*About 14 million Whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug
*5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites
*African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.
*African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)
[...]
*Crime/drug arrest rates: African Americans represent 12% of monthly drug users, but comprise 32% of persons arrested for drug possession


   170. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4647649)
See the bit about drug sentencing. Not only are sentences generally longer for African Americans these days, but the criminal code contains structural inequalities that disproportionately affect the number of charges faced by African Americans as well as the length of sentences in cases of identical offenses. There wasn't a War on Drugs in the 1940s and 1950s.

But there were a metric-####-ton of racist judges, especially in the South, where the black population was concentrated.

Are you really going to argue that a black defendant in 1955 Mississippi got a fairer shake at sentencing than a black defendant today?
   171. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4647652)
See the bit about drug sentencing. Not only are sentences generally longer for African Americans these days, but the criminal code contains structural inequalities that disproportionately affect the number of charges faced by African Americans as well as the length of sentences in cases of identical offenses. There wasn't a War on Drugs in the 1940s and 1950s.

It didn't show much. Do you really think the racial disparity in sentencing in the Jim Crow South was a mere 15%? That doesn't pass the laugh test.

   172. The Good Face Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4647654)
So because you assert institutional racism no longer exists it doesn't?


I keep asking people to show it to me and they can't. If it's so pervasive, so overwhelming, it should be trivially easy to produce dispositive evidence. Instead, people keep pulling out a penumbra to a tangent of a possible situation that might consist of institutional racism.

The fact that so many more blacks are incarcerated is evidence that in some ways institutional racism is worse than it was.


It's evidence that blacks commit way, WAY more crimes than their percentage of the population would otherwise indicate. Which, unsurprisingly, they do.

Now the overall participation rate is lower, but there are many more opportunities in positions of power. For example the CIO at the company I consult at who was just hired is a black man. I am willing to bet that "C" level black's in MN during Jim Crow were basically unicorns.


Yes, I talked about this in the politics thread. As is usually the case, the causes championed by liberals have empowered the people at the top. Those guys make out like bandits. Look, it's a black CIO, hooray, we're so enlightened and diverse! But you've made life worse for the blacks in the middle and bottom. And now you want to "fix" the income inquality you've caused in the first place? It's like I keep saying, you guys don't understand reality, and when you don't understand reality, you can't change it in accordance with your wishes; you're just flailing in the dark and unintended consequences rule the day.

(*) "Similarly situated" is doing a lot of work there.


Oh hey, you noticed that too!
   173. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:28 PM (#4647657)
Are you really going to argue that a black defendant in 1955 Mississippi got a fairer shake at sentencing than a black defendant today?


I'm arguing that changes in the criminal code between then and now, due primarily to the War on Drugs, mean that African Americans are likely to face more charges (and more serious charges) than they would have in the past, without considering sentencing.
   174. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4647659)
I keep asking people to show it to me and they can't. If it's so pervasive, so overwhelming, it should be trivially easy to produce dispositive evidence.


Well, you could look at the disparity in criminal charges and sentences in #162 and #169. That might be a good place to start.
   175. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4647660)
(Also, all of this #### should totally be in the OTP thread, rather than the general site. Just wanted to note that.)
   176. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4647661)
I'm arguing that changes in the criminal code between then and now, due primarily to the War on Drugs, mean that African Americans are likely to face more charges (and more serious charges) than they would have in the past, without considering sentencing.

You seemed to be arguing more than that, but this I agree with. The "prisoner" part of Face's "social triad" should adjust for people in prison for lower-level drug crimes. That said, there's an argument to be made that the metric is meant to be a proxy for "law abidingness," which is indeed a proper measure of social health. But, on balance, I'd adjust.
   177. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4647666)
You seemed to be arguing more than that, but this I agree with.


Well, I also threw the current sentencing disparity thing in there as a way of demonstrating to TGF that institutional racism isn't entirely a thing of the past, as he had contended in an earlier post.
   178. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 06:44 PM (#4647670)
I keep asking people to show it to me and they can't. If it's so pervasive, so overwhelming, it should be trivially easy to produce dispositive evidence.


Another good example of institutional racism in America: the racial breakdown of death penalty sentences. The decision on whether or not to issue a death sentence has a strong correlation to both the race of the defendant and the race of the victim.
   179. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 28, 2014 at 07:37 PM (#4647705)
Another good example of institutional racism in America: the racial breakdown of death penalty sentences. The decision on whether or not to issue a death sentence has a strong correlation to both the race of the defendant and the race of the victim.

And on a less serious but nevertheless striking level there's this: From 2008 through 2011 the Park Slope precinct (#78) in Brooklyn averaged 8 bike-on-sidewalk summonses a year. In the same time span, Ocean Hill-Brownsville (#73) averaged 1,062 such summonses, and Bed-Stuy (#79) averaged 2,050. I doubt if I have to tell too many New Yorkers what the ethnic breakdown of those three precincts are.
   180. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: January 28, 2014 at 07:40 PM (#4647707)
In my personal experience, it seems that being a racist has always been much more socially acceptable than calling someone a racist. That is, calling a living person a racist. Sadly, in my personal experience, it seems that it has always been perfectly fine to call dead people almost any name you want to. De mortuis my ass.
   181. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: January 28, 2014 at 07:43 PM (#4647708)
Don't know if this got answered, however, from "Bring the Noize"


Also, from "Don't Believe The Hype":

"The follower of Farrakhan, don't tell me that you understand, until you hear the man."

And from another song I can't remember right now:

"That's why I'm down with Al [Sharpton] plus the F[ruit] O[f] I[slam]."
   182. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: January 28, 2014 at 07:46 PM (#4647711)
Double post
   183. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 28, 2014 at 08:23 PM (#4647723)
At the very least we all agree Racism used to exist and be prevalent in the US. That being the case I think it should be incumbent on those suggesting racism no longer exists to prove their case. Shouldn't the default assumption be things are the way they were unless shown otherwise?

In other words since we all agree there was racism, simple inertia suggests there is still racism absent some proof. So I would like some proof that racism is gone. I would also like the magical date that people suggest racism disappeared.

Otherwise, absent such proof and a date, what you are saying is, "Sure racism existed. But then it went away. By magic or something (because it was not any laws or anything liberals did), and it happened, but I can't say when, it just did, because now there is none. Trust me."

Obviously that would be (and is) a silly argument to make. Unless of course you are suggesting there was never racism or something.
   184. Bug Selig Posted: January 28, 2014 at 08:23 PM (#4647724)
And on a less serious but nevertheless striking level there's this: From 2008 through 2011 the Park Slope precinct (#78) in Brooklyn averaged 8 bike-on-sidewalk summonses a year. In the same time span, Ocean Hill-Brownsville (#73) averaged 1,062 such summonses, and Bed-Stuy (#79) averaged 2,050. I doubt if I have to tell too many New Yorkers what the ethnic breakdown of those three precincts are.


On an equally non-serious level: In my Detroit suburb, there are many walking-down-the-middle-of-the-street-and-blocking-traffic-because-you're-an-idiot stops and probably arrests. Literally zero of them involve senior citizens, Asians, clowns, or amputees.
   185. CrosbyBird Posted: January 28, 2014 at 08:36 PM (#4647725)
When is it okay to call someone a racist?

When that person does or says something that is racist.

Not only is it OKAY to call them out, it is something that SHOULD be done.


I would say that, generally speaking, calling someone a racist is at best worthless. I agree that you should call out someone for racist speech or behavior, but you should call out the speech or behavior, as opposed to making it about the person. This isn't mere semantics, but the difference between defining a person and criticizing their actions. You don't fix the problem by attacking people, but by attacking their behavior.

Not to mention that "racist" is a very weighted term, when applied to an individual. When I think of a person that is a racist, I think of someone like David Duke. I think of more than mere tribalism (my people are better than your people), but a belief that some people are fundamentally less human than others.

There is, to me, a fundamental difference between a racist and a person who occasionally says or does racist things. But even if you disagree, it's an impractical approach to dealing with the issue. Placing the emphasis on the behavior rather than the person is much more likely to lead to meaningful dialogue rather than defensiveness.
   186. CrosbyBird Posted: January 28, 2014 at 09:14 PM (#4647745)
But Vlad, wouldn't blacks have gotten longer sentences back in the 1940's and 1950's too? Especially in the South..

I suppose it doesn't take very long to hang someone from a tree without a trial. I think longer criminal sentences are a step in the right direction from lynchings.

I'm not saying what you quoted is wrong. I'm just saying I don't understand why it would have gotten worse since the days where there was out-in-the-open institutional racism.

It's really not worse. The days where the police looked the other way while a mob beat a black man to death for looking at a white woman are (for the most part) behind us. Similarly, we're past the times where police turned fire hoses and dogs on black people.

I'm the first to say that a good deal of what is termed "institutional racism" is simply classism, but I think you have to be willfully blind to think that being poor and black is the same as being poor and white.
   187. Gonfalon B. Posted: January 28, 2014 at 11:13 PM (#4647777)
"That's why I'm down with Al [Sharpton] plus the F[ruit] O[f] I[slam]."

There, Chuck D is referring to Freedom of Information requests. And Al Roker.
   188. Morty Causa Posted: January 29, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4647915)
I know I've told the story before but it's one I like a lot. In a fairly in depth interview with Caine the interviewer felt comfortable enough told ask him why he appeared in so many terrible movies.

He made a quip -- their checks cleared or something very similar. And then gave a longer version (that amounted to the same thing. He paid his bills by acting and if the material was no good he gave it his best). He also explained that he never directed because it wasn't a cost-effective use of his time. In the time it takes to see a movie all the way through he could act in several others.

In the same interview he also said something to the effect that he'd take any role if they were shooting in a location he liked.


Looking at it in the worst way, this makes Caine seem like a whore. In the best way, a true pro. And either way, it probably has something to do with his wanting to make lots of money (he was a poor boy), liking being admired and wanted, and satiating a workaholic strain. My favorite story along these lines is when an interviewer asked him (maybe it was that same interviewer you refer to, Ron) why he did such an awful movie like the Jaws one. He said he wasn't very proud of that movie. OTOH, he was very proud of the house it bought.

Caine in person comes across as extremely affable and likable. How many people could establish a rapport with both John Wayne and Cary Grant?

Caine's views about work remind me of Robert Mitchum's. He, too, was asked why he did some of the crap he did, and he replied something like, look, if I get a great role to play, I try to do it justice. If I don't, I go to work. It's my job. There's something to be said for treating "art" more like everyday craftsmanship. Just get on with what's before you, then move on. Collect the checks, eat the brie, squeeze the chicks.
   189. The Good Face Posted: January 29, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4647949)
But again, we went from a very large amount of what you insist is a very bad, no good, awful thing to a significantly smaller amount and THINGS GOT MUCH WORSE. And you can't explain the mechanism responsible for that.


Yes, I can, and have. See #117, #128, #134, and #150.


All you've done in those posts is pull speculations out of your ass and claim that they have explanatory power for phenomenon that actually occurred. (Really? Income inquality is responsible for black births-out-of-wedlock rates exploding between 1965 and 1990? Seriously?) You might as well claim the post-Jim Crow declines were due to sunspots, or unusually high levels of Phlobotinum occuring in the mesosphere. I mean sure, they're technically explanations, but they're idiotic and unsupported by evidence.

(For at least half of the stuff you're writing in this thread, I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to sayso I would be hard-pressed to respond to it with evidentiary support, even if I were inclined to waste time looking up sources that I'm pretty sure you wouldn't understand.)


Translation: I got nuthin'.

Math does not work that way.


Once again, when you're pushed, you resort to insults because you can't defend your claims. Make a case based on something other than speculation, or at least try to defend your speculations.

Again, why are you asking me for evidence, when you have provided none yourself?


Because MY claims are both generally acknowledged to be true and easily supported by facts. Like so. Page 9 has the relevant prison numbers. Here's some data on out of wedlock births; black out of wedlock births went from 24% in 1965 to 64% by 1990. Written by Janet Yellen of all people, who knew? Here's Walter Williams' column on black workforce participation. Townhall is a pretty stupid website, but Williams is not some fraud who just fabricates numbers out of whole cloth.

I'm talking about the reasons for continued poverty among low-income African Americans in the modern day, despite gains that have been made W/R/T institutional racism. I'm not sure what you're talking about, because you seem to be all over the place.

As the bar for entry to middle-class employment has been raised (due to such factors as the greater need for higher education and the higher cost of a degree), the poor (including poor African Americans) have become less able to better themselves.


Ok, found your problem. You're confusing economic/social mobility with the "ease" of being poor. You're using them interchangeably and they're not the same thing. There are host of government programs that have been implemented since the 50s to aid and assist the poor. It's probably never been "easier" to be poor in America than it is now. You're right that it's harder to escape from poverty today in part due to the weakening of unions and the increasing importance of education, but that has nothing to do with YOUR claim that being poor was somehow "easier" back in the good old days when there was little or no government assistance.
   190. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4647991)
Really? Income inquality is responsible for black births-out-of-wedlock rates exploding between 1965 and 1990? Seriously?


There's been a substantial decline in American marriage rates across the board as a result of changing social mores, so that's a big chunk of it right there. Similarly, there is much less of a stigma concerning out-of-wedlock births now than there was in the past, so fewer couples subsequently marry as a result of accidental conception.

Some of it is also tied to finances and educational opportunities. People with more money get married at a higher rate than people with less money, and people with a college degree get married more often than people without one. (Similarly, among married couples, divorce rates are higher for the poor and uneducated.) That shouldn't be surprising - anyone who's ever been in a long-term relationship can tell you that money is one of the primary sources of friction.

And of course, the incarceration rates resulting from the War on Drugs, which disproportionately targets African Americans, has an effect as well. As do changing levels of knowledge of (and access to) birth control and abortions. There are lots of factors.

Once again, when you're pushed, you resort to insults because you can't defend your claims.


I'm not going to explain to you, at length, how fractions work. That's stupid. If you don't understand that by now, then nothing I can say today will help you.

Because MY claims are both generally acknowledged to be true and easily supported by facts. Like so. Page 9 has the relevant prison numbers. Here's some data on out of wedlock births; black out of wedlock births went from 24% in 1965 to 64% by 1990. Written by Janet Yellen of all people, who knew? Here's Walter Williams' column on black workforce participation. Townhall is a pretty stupid website, but Williams is not some fraud who just fabricates numbers out of whole cloth.


With the exception of the opinion piece from Clown Hall, in which Mr. Williams primarily draws unsupported conclusions from personal anecdotes, your links only verify that the social trends we are discussing are actually occurring - none of them support any of your theories explaining those trends.

Ok, found your problem. You're confusing economic/social mobility with the "ease" of being poor.


No, I'm not.

It's probably never been "easier" to be poor in America than it is now.


There has never been anything "easy" about being poor, then or now.

that has nothing to do with YOUR claim that being poor was somehow "easier" back in the good old days when there was little or no government assistance.


First, the terms "easy" and "easier", and the claims which accompany them, are yours, not mine.

Second, the ability of an individual living in poverty to lift himself out of poverty through effort has everything in the world to do with the difficulty of living in poverty (and of course the change in the number of people living in poverty over a period of time as well). Poverty is an engine that drives all of the problems we are discussing.

Way back on the last page, you asked, "While you're at it, perhaps you could explain why blacks have lost so much ground in key areas like family formation, incarceration rates, and employment rates since the days when there was REAL institutional racism?" Looking past the glib dismissal of the current level of institutional racism (still haven't seen you respond to the links I provided on the racial disparity in legal charges and sentences, BTW): if you didn't want to know the answers to that question, then you shouldn't have asked it.
   191. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 29, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4648018)
Vlad, you DO realize you're arguing with the BTF equivalent of a tar baby, don't you? Do you ever really expect him to acknowledge your points rather than ignoring them and steering back to his comfortable turf of genetic differences and the debilitating effects of social safety nets?

As you note, you've posted links to information about the racial disparity in prosecutions and sentencing. Maybe he'll get around to responding to that sometime in 2018. But until then, you might as well be talking to the lamp post.
   192. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4648023)
You make a good point.

I guess that's a good opportunity to drop this.
   193. Morty Causa Posted: January 29, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4648030)
Too bad, because it's a potentially edifying exchange, if dispassion is allowed to rule.
   194. The Good Face Posted: January 29, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4648072)
I'm not going to explain to you, at length, how fractions work. That's stupid. If you don't understand that by now, then nothing I can say today will help you.


So you're not willing to defend your arguments. No surprises there, it's good to know when you're beaten I suppose.

With the exception of the opinion piece from Clown Hall, in which Mr. Williams primarily draws unsupported conclusions from personal anecdotes, your links only verify that the social trends we are discussing are actually occurring - none of them support any of your theories explaining those trends.


You challenged me for evidence that the trends I brought up existed; I delivered, which is a lot more than you've managed to do when pressed for evidence. I haven't offered any theories explaining those trends. I've pointed out that they exist despite the dramatic decline of institutional racism and asked for supporters of the "institutional racism is superbad and causes all sorts of bad things in today's world" caucus to explain how that could be the case. So far, you guys have nothing but fantastical conjecture.

Ok, found your problem. You're confusing economic/social mobility with the "ease" of being poor.


No, I'm not.


Do you write these posts in a fugue state where you don't remember things you've typed out moments after doing it? Or perhaps you have some sort of disassociative identity disorder? Because in the same post, you later say...

Second, the ability of an individual living in poverty to lift himself out of poverty through effort has everything in the world to do with the difficulty of living in poverty (and of course the change in the number of people living in poverty over a period of time as well). Poverty is an engine that drives all of the problems we are discussing.


There is a difference between how difficult it is to "live in poverty" and how difficult it is for one to "lift himself out of poverty". You're muddling them together and it's making your dialogue (it doesn't really rise to the level of argument) incoherent.

Looking past the glib dismissal of the current level of institutional racism (still haven't seen you respond to the links I provided on the racial disparity in legal charges and sentences, BTW): if you didn't want to know the answers to that question, then you shouldn't have asked it.


I haven't dismissed it it all; I just haven't seen any evidence that demonstrates anything more than blacks commit crimes at disproportionate levels and are punished accordingly. You're the guy who's trying to claim that the justice system punishing criminals in accordance with their crimes somehow rises to the level of Jim Crow.

I guess that's a good opportunity to drop this.


Run along then.

Vlad, you DO realize you're arguing with the BTF equivalent of a tar baby, don't you? Do you ever really expect him to acknowledge your points rather than ignoring them and steering back to his comfortable turf of genetic differences and the debilitating effects of social safety nets?


I acknowledge points if they have merit. Vlad's rich fantasy life, unsupported by evidence, isn't particularly meritorious though. Also, you're losing the ability to read in your dotage; at no point in this conversation have I mentioned genetic differences, and any arguments against the social safety net (which I support) were implicit in Vlad's argument that being poor was easier back in the good ole days.
   195. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 29, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4648092)
Too bad, because it's a potentially edifying exchange, if dispassion is allowed to rule.

The only way discussions like this can be "edifying" is if several opposing points are acknowledged and not ignored or waved aside, and if heat sinking missile labeling is set aside.

These are but a few specifics:

---The "Left" has to acknowledge that all things being equal, two parents are better than one, and that it's not inherently an "attack" on anyone to point that out.

---The "Left" has to acknowledge that not all opposition to social safety net policies is "racist", even if the effects of such opposition fall disproportionately upon non-white people.

---Both sides have to respond to the totality of the "other" side's points, and not just attack the one it disagrees with. It would also contribute to the discussion if both sides acknowledged the occasional point(s) of agreement, but it seems as if some people have a hard time doing that.

---The "Right" has to acknowledge that all things being equal, it's better to be born white than black in the United States of today, and that "all things being equal" includes factors such as total net worth that's accumulated over generations, not just current income.

---The "Right" has to face up to racial discrepancies in law enforcement, and not just pretend that differences in prosecutions and sentencing are solely due to a greater black propensity to lawbreaking.

---It would also help if loaded terminology like "racist" and "modern liberals" were simply dropped unless they were backed with specific points about specific people. If those terms have any meaning in relationship to a specific person, such evidence shouldn't be hard to find, but it should be spelled out, not just asserted.

This is a relatively productive forum as internet forums go, but it still largely consists of people talking past each other. It could be a whole lot better if some of the above suggestions were followed.



   196. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 29, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4648102)
Vlad, you DO realize you're arguing with the BTF equivalent of a tar baby, don't you? Do you ever really expect him to acknowledge your points rather than ignoring them and steering back to his comfortable turf of genetic differences and the debilitating effects of social safety nets?

I acknowledge points if they have merit. Vlad's rich fantasy life, unsupported by evidence, isn't particularly meritorious though.


You've never responded to Vlad's points about sentence discrepancies (see the link in #178)in any substantive way. You might consider doing so, and while you're at it respond to the related stats I mentioned in #179.

Also, you're losing the ability to read in your dotage; at no point in this conversation have I mentioned genetic differences,

Give yourself time. The thread is less than 200 posts old at this point, and homing pigeons generally find their way home.

and any arguments against the social safety net (which I support) were implicit in Vlad's argument that being poor was easier back in the good ole days.

Which he's answered at length. But Vlad can speak for himself about that.
   197. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 29, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4648117)
60 years ago, you didn't need higher education in order to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle. Which is again, kind of the whole point.

A middle class lifestyle used to mean something quite different - a household with one car, one phone, one television (black & white, 3 channels & no remote!), and one bathroom (or at least shared bathrooms). Take a look at the old Jackie Gleason "Honeymooners" re-runs to see how a NYC bus driver lived in the 1950s. A comparable worker is much better off today. Even many poor people have color TV, cell phones, Internet access and other comforts. Recent academic studies have also confirmed that upward mobility hasn't declined, contrary to the BACK-IN-THE-GOOD-OLD-DAYS nostalgia that seems to permeate these threads. There are still economic issues of concern, but the suggestion that today's workers have it worse than their predecessors is mostly misplaced.
   198. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 29, 2014 at 04:55 PM (#4648192)
60 years ago, you didn't need higher education in order to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle. Which is again, kind of the whole point.


A middle class lifestyle used to mean something quite different - a household with one car, one phone, one television (black & white, 3 channels & no remote!), and one bathroom (or at least shared bathrooms). Take a look at the old Jackie Gleason "Honeymooners" re-runs to see how a NYC bus driver lived in the 1950s. A comparable worker is much better off today.

Ralph Kramden was a Brooklyn city bus driver in that show.

The median salary for a Brooklyn bus driver today is $22,853, according to salary.com. It's really better than that, as bonuses and benefits bring that up to $41,444.

Not bad if you live in Kansas or in Columbus. But given that the general allocation for rent or mortgage is supposed to be about 25% of your pre-tax income, that means that today's Kramden would have about $476.10 a month to spend on rent.

But let's assume that Ralph had been around awhile and had accumulated a fair amount of seniority, and that his income had made it into the top 10% of bus drivers.

Well, that would have brought his salary up to $31,331, which would have meant that he'd have $652.73 to spend on that cozy little place that he and Alice called home.

So what are you going to find for $652.73 a month in today's Brooklyn? Would it be a middle class apartment by anyone's standards?

Which is kind of the whole point.



   199. tfbg9 Posted: January 29, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4648217)
The median salary for a Brooklyn bus driver today is $22,853


Is that an MTA bus driver? Seems really really low.
   200. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 29, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4648226)
Is that an MTA bus driver? Seems really really low.

Very.

Staring salary is $21/hr. for a 40 hour week. Escalates to $30 in 4th year.
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