Mark Cuban said this last week…
We’re all prejudiced in one way or the other. If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street. If on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face — white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere — I’m walking back to the other side of the street. And the list goes on of stereotypes that we all live up to and are fearful of. And so, in my businesses, I try not to be hypocritical. I know that I’m not perfect. I know that I live in a glass house, and it’s not appropriate for me to throw stones.
…and was, of course, crucified for it by the Left, our moral betters, the non-humans among us who apparently never have normal human reactions. (Of course, they do, they just won’t admit it because their top priority is to feel superior to others, regardless of their actual behavior). Cuban is conveying a normal human reaction, as Naomi Schaefer Riley put it:
You’re a rational person making a set of reasonable calculations about your safety based on available information.The tragic fact is that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime. They are about 13 percent of the population, but between 1976 and 2005, blacks committed more than half of all murders in America.Sometimes, people who are wearing hoodies — or, say, baggy pants with no belts — are dressing to send a message. It’s an aggressive message, one glorified every day by rappers and other arbiters of black culture. And whether young men who dress in ghetto attire may intend that message for their friends or neighbors, they’re also sending a message to other folks, black or white, who don’t know them.The white man with a shaved head and a bunch of tattoos — whom Cuban also said he would avoid — is doing the same thing. He, too, is sending a message — that he doesn’t care what others think of him. And I, for one, will be more than happy to take the hint. I prefer to be around strangers who care about what society thinks of them. It suggests they will follow society’s other rules.We all act on incomplete information. Women regularly make the decision not to get into an elevator or a subway car with men they don’t know. It’s not that they assume all men are rapists or murderers. It’s simply that given a limited amount of knowledge, we make calculations about what is safe.
It’s not a race thing. I generally feel safer getting in an elevator with a Clarence Thomas than with an Eminem. It’s about how you present yourself to the world, and usually the only thing we can immediately judge is how a person is dressed. But, of course, to the Left EVERYTHING is about race and nothing else. Charles C.W. Cooke has a good piece on the Cuban situation and the Left’s false claim that they want to actually have a real conversation about race…
Yesterday, the ever-hysterical ThinkProgress summed up the underlying problem perfectly. Cuban, Travis Waldron griped in a notably confused post, has shown America “how not to start a conversation about racism.” On its face, this is a peculiar claim, is it not? Cuban did, quite literally and deliberately, start a conversation about racism. He talked about specifics, allowing that if he sees a “black kid in a hoodie” on his side of the street, he is prone to “move to the other side”; he personalized his contribution, self-critically contending that he was “prejudiced” and “bigoted in a lot of different ways”; and he broadened his point to society as a whole, positing that “none of us have pure thoughts; we all live in glass houses.” All in all, a pretty good way of kicking off the game. But, it seems, an unacceptable one, too. This, apparently, was not the conversation that the Left wished to have — nor, perhaps, the conversation that the majority of Americans wish to have. Here, the cynics are right when they claim that the sort of people who call for a “dialogue” in this area really want to hear a lecture, and that those who are ostensibly seeking merely to arrange a forum in which they can ask people what they think wish only that the people with the wrong views will out themselves with sufficient probity that they might be pilloried in public…Defending Cuban yesterday, a number of commentators pointed to a famous press conference in 1993, during which Jesse Jackson lamented that, “there is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” Why does it matter that Jackson said this? Not, I’d propose, because a black person’s having said it justifies any nefarious instincts that non-blacks might have. But because Jackson’s having admitted to it indicates just how widespread such fears are. Again, a useful response in this instance would not be to complain that Cuban’s professed fears might potentially hurt feelings and should therefore be kept quiet, but to inquire as to whether his inclination is warranted. One might discover that Jackson and Cuban are both overly afraid and should learn to be more judicious; or that it is destructive to minorities for collective crime statistics to so readily be put on the shoulders of innocent individuals; or that, while there is something rational to their fears, it nevertheless shows just how potent racial inequalities remain in everyday life. As it happens, if it says anything much at all, Cuban’s admission plays into the Left’s contention that there is widespread anxiety about black men in hoodies, and that this fear sometimes has fatal consequences. Whatever one’s view, shouldn’t his judgment be welcomed as a useful piece of information? Fleshing out his accusation of cowardice, [Eric] Holder lamented that “certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks at best embarrassment and at worst the questioning of one’s character.” Once again, he was right. Any meaningful “conversation” dealing with a topic as weighty as race will have to be predicated on the ironclad understanding that contributors will not be crucified for their participation. We are not yet ready to offer that assurance. Mark Cuban broached one of Holder’s “certain subjects” and he took an honest shot at exploring it. For his troubles, he has been embarrassed and his character has been questioned. Far from encouraging others to contribute, such a reaction is all but guaranteed to ensure that others will demur from following the example. Who among us will bare our souls if only to have stakes driven through them by our self-appointed judges? Not Mark Cuban. Not me. Not anybody else in the nation of cowards.
And the inability to ever be able to talk about this stuff leads to the political correctness that leads to absolutely awful stuff like this: “Police accused of failing to investigate paedophile gang for fear of appearing racist.”
The nine men from Rochdale were yesterday convicted of abusing five vulnerable teenagers after plying them with alcohol, food and small sums of money in return for sex.However, the true number of victims, who were “passed around” by the gang, is likely to be nearer to 50, police have admitted.Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have now apologised after they failed to bring the case of the first victim – Girl A – to trial following her cry for help in August 2008.One 13 year-old victim became pregnant and had the child aborted while another was forced to have sex with 20 men in one night, Liverpool Crown Court heard.Complaints to social workers and the police were ignored because they were “petrified of being called racist”, former Labour MP for Keighley Ann Cryer said. Mrs Cryer, who has campaigned to bring the issue of Asian sex gangs to light, said the girls had been “betrayed” and condemned to “untold misery” by the police and social services. “This is an absolute scandal. They were petrified of being called racist and so reverted to the default of political correctness,” she said.”They had a greater fear of being perceived in that light than in dealing with the issues in front of them.”Girl A told police that she had been raped and provided DNA evidence from her attacker, however the CPS twice decided not to prosecute him.
J.R.R. Tolkien translated Beowulf. It’s finally been published. Here’s a review.
Summer is upon us. Be thankful you live in a country where you can enjoy it. Reporting from Iran, here’s Kimia Barzegar:
On the first weekend of the American beach season, most people in the United States won’t be pondering how difficult, frustrating and humiliating it is to try to enjoy the sea if you are swaddled in multiple layers of cloth. But in Iran, there are some sectors of society that seem obsessed with enforcing the rules against exposing a female’s flesh or, indeed, the shape of her body. Among those groups: the Iranian coast guard, which has mounted an operation it calls “Wholesome Sea” to patrol the coast for women who might offend against the draconian dress codes or dare to get their cloaked bodies wet in sight of men. Altogether, Iran’s coastlines stretch for 2,700 kilometers ( almost 1,700 miles) in the north on the Caspian Sea and in the South on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. For Iranian women, however, these vast beaches are a reminder of nothing but prohibitions and frustrated yearnings. On most of them, women are not allowed to swim at all, regardless of whether they are alone or are accompanied by their families. They can only enter water on beaches specially designed for women. And those, as the saying goes, are separate, and not equal. A Woman-only beach is a part of the sea enclosed on four sides—yes, all four sides—without any view in or out. Yet even these can be found in only a few coastal cities…The shores of the Caspian offer the most attractive strands in Iran but, especially in tourist seasons, police officers fan out across the sand to make sure no women dare to take a dip. The first barrier for women is the Islamic dress code or hijab. If there are no police around, you might see women who have waded into the water, fully dressed in coats, pants and headscarves. Some find it too cumbersome to swim with such heavy clothing, as you might expect, so they opt to take some small pleasure from just walking on the beach…The restrictions have turned most women into mere spectators who watch men swimming. On very rare occasions, of course, they walk into the sea, heavy clothing and all. Even this mode of swimming comes under the heavy criticism of religious elements, some of the officials and the conservative media, perhaps fearful that a wet chador will be just too provocative.
Kevin Williamson has a great response to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s reparations piece. Here’s an excerpt, but read the whole thing.
Mr. Coates does not spare the New Dealers, who enacted a raft of progressive policies that were in many cases designed to exclude or disadvantage African Americans. Contrary to the convenient myth related by our contemporary liberals, there was no substantial conflict between Democratic liberals and Democratic segregationists on most of the progressive agenda — the progressives and the segregationists were, in the main, the same people, and the so-called conservative Democrats in the South were very enthusiastic about federal regulation of businesses, the minimum wage, social insurance, and welfare programs, so long as they could be structured in a way that would not benefit blacks very much. But Mr. Coates does not give much consideration to the possibility that a similar dynamic still is at work among our 21st-century progressives — not in the sense that white progressives see their own interests being in direct competition with those of black Americans, but in the sense that programs run for the theoretical benefit of the poor, who are disproportionately black, are in fact run for the benefit of the largely white upper-middle-class bureaucrats who are employed by them. The teachers’ unions’ steadfast and occasionally hysterical opposition to school-reform programs intended to help the overwhelmingly black population of Washington, D.C., is a dramatic example of that, the full import of which does not seem to have settled upon the mind of Mr. Coates, who is himself a product of the backward Baltimore public-school system…Mr. Coates does not make the case so much for reparations as for a South Africa–style truth-and-reconciliation commission. “The crime with which reparations activists charge the country implicates more than just a few towns or corporations. The crime indicts the American people themselves, at every level, and in nearly every configuration. A crime that implicates the entire American people deserves its hearing in the legislative body that represents them.” The purpose of a debate on a reparations bill of the sort being offered by John Conyers Jr. is not so much to construct a program of economic compensation as it is to have another verse of that Democratic hymn, an honest conversation about race. (As though we ever talked about anything else.) And this gets to the real defect in Mr. Coates’s approach. The purpose of public policy in this area can be one of two things. The first is a program focused on trying to improve in real terms the lives of those who are poorly off and those born into circumstances that are likely to lead to their being poorly off adults, proceeding with the intellectual honesty to acknowledge that such programs will disproportionately benefit black Americans, as they should. The second option is a symbolic political process designed to confer a degree of psychic satisfaction on relatively well-off men and women such as Ta-Nehisi Coates…Mr. Coates engages in what certainly feels like a little misdirection. Responding to the very fair criticism that public policy designed to help the disadvantaged should distinguish between, say, the Obama daughters and those without their advantages, Mr. Coates is having none of it: “In the contest of upward mobility, Barack and Michelle Obama have won. But they’ve won by being twice as good—and enduring twice as much.” The truth or untruth of that claim can only be ascertained by asking the question that Mr. Coates is committed to ignoring: “Compared with whom?” Did Barack or Michelle Obama inherit disadvantages that forced them to perform twice as well, and bear twice as much, as a white woman born into horrific poverty in Appalachia? A white orphan? A white immigrant escaping the Third Reich? A racial disadvantage is only one of many kinds of disadvantages that can be inherited — why should it be the one around which we organize ourselves? Mr. Coates himself comes from a fairly modest background, but he, a man without an undergraduate degree, is a visiting scholar at MIT, one of the most exclusive academic institutions in the world, a position he enjoys as part of a program that excludes whites. (“The Program is open to individuals of any minority group, with an emphasis on the appointment of African Americans.”) There are, of course, many programs of that sort, and it is possible that poor whites resent them more than they should — the view from Owsley County, Ky, or from Lubbock, Texas, might make it difficult to see the so-called white supremacy that is so unmistakably obvious to Mr. Coates. But dealing with that reality inescapably entails treating people as individuals, and treating people as individuals makes reparations morally and intellectually impossible — even if we accept in toto Mr. Coates’s argument that the brutal imposition of white-supremacist policies is the entire basis for the relative social positions of blacks and whites in the United States in 2014. Which is to say: Even if we accept the facts of aggregate advantage and disadvantage with their roots in historical injustice, the aggregate cannot be converted into the collective inasmuch as neither advantage nor disadvantage is universal on either side nor linked to a straightforward chain of causality. Some blacks are born into college-educated, well-off households, and some whites are born to heroin-addicted single mothers, and even the totality of racial crimes throughout American history does not mean that one of these things matters and one does not. Once that fact is acknowledged, then the case for reparations is only moral primitivism: My interests are inextricably linked to my own kin group and directly rivalrous with yours, i.e., the very racism that this program is in theory intended to redress. Mr. Coates also, I think, miscalculates what the real-world effects of converting our liberal conception of justice into a system of racial appropriation might mean. There are still, after all, an awful lot of white people, and though many of them might be inclined to make amends under some sort of racial truce following the process Mr. Coates imagines, many of them might simply be inclined to prevail. The fact is that the situation of African Americans in the United States has improved precisely to the extent that whites have begun to forgo tribalism and to genuinely commit themselves to the principles of liberalism, the long march toward a more perfect Union. The alternative — a system of exclusive interests in which black and white operate effectively in opposition — is not only morally repugnant, but likely to undermine the genuine political and economic interests of African Americans…Mr. Coates is largely correct about the past and is to a degree correct about the present. About the future, he is catastrophically wrong. The political interests of African Americans, like those of other Americans, are best served by equality under the law. The economic interests of African Americans, like those of other Americans, are best served by a dynamic and growing economy, preferably one in which the labor force is liberated from the dysfunctional, antique Prussian model of education that contributes so much to black poverty. The people to whom reparations were owed are long dead; our duty is to the living, and to generations yet to come, and their interests are best served by liberty and prosperity, not by moral theater.
George Will and I have the same presidential candidate fantasy. This. A thousand times this. Here’s an excerpt, but again, read the whole thing.
“Candidates are constantly asked, ‘Where will you take the country?’ My answer is: ‘Nowhere.’ The country is not a parcel to be ‘taken’ anywhere. It is the spontaneous order of 316 million people making billions of daily decisions, cooperatively contracting together, moving the country in gloriously unplanned directions. “To another inane question, ‘How will you create jobs?,’ my answer will be: ‘I won’t.’ Other than by doing whatever the chief executive can to reduce the regulatory state’s impediments to industriousness…“Congress, defined by the Constitution’s Article I, is properly the first, the initiating branch of government. So, I will veto no bill merely because I disagree with the policy it implements. I will wield the veto power only on constitutional grounds — when Congress legislates beyond its constitutionally enumerated powers, correctly construed, as they have not been since the New Deal. So I expect to cast more vetoes than the 2,564 cast by all previous presidents…“In a radio address to the nation, President Franklin Roosevelt urged Americans to tell him their troubles. Please do not tell me yours. Tell them to your spouse, friends, clergy — not to a politician who is far away, who doesn’t know you and whose job description does not include Empathizer in Chief. ‘I feel your pain,’ Bill Clinton vowed. I won’t insult your intelligence by similarly pretending to feel yours…“A congenial society is one in which most people most of the time, and all politicians almost all of the time, say, when asked about almost everything: ‘This is none of my business.’ If as president I am asked what I think about the death of a rock star, or the imbecilic opinions of rich blowhards who own professional sports teams, I will say: ‘Americans should have no interest in my thoughts about such things, if I had any.’ I will try not to come to the attention of any television camera more than once a week, and only that often if I am convinced that I can speak without violating what will be my administration’s motto: ‘Don’t speak unless you can improve the silence.’ “I will not ruin any more American evenings with televised State of the Union addresses. I will mail my thoughts on that subject to Congress ‘from time to time,’ as the Constitution directs. This was good enough for Jefferson and every subsequent president until Woodrow Wilson, the first president who believed, as progressives do, that the nation cannot function without constant presidential tutoring and hectoring…“Finally, there have been 44 presidencies before the one I moderately aspire to administer, and there will be many more than 44 after it. Mine will be a success if, a century hence, Americans remember me as dimly as they remember Grover Cleveland, the last Democratic president with proper understanding of this office’s place in our constitutional order.”
Check out London’s slimmest house with a width of 99 inches. It’s currently on the market for £450,000.
In the time that has passed since the Styles section last reported on hand-lift procedures (March 15, 2012), doctors are saying that they are seeing more newly engaged women come in specifically with the selfie in mind. “Absolutely, the rise in social media is a reason people are getting a ton of stuff done, not just to their hands,” said Dr. David Bank, the director of the Center for Dermatology in Mount Kisco, N.Y., who has been offering hand lifts since 2005 and has conducted studies on hand injectables…In Ms. Valencis’ quest for that perfect selfie of her diamond-adorned hand, she contracted for a series of six intense pulsed light (I.P.L.) and chemical-peel treatments and two syringes of an injected gel substance called Juvéderm Voluma XC for a total of $3,000.
Our society is so dumb.
Oh my god, Zuckerberg’s money went to the unions instead of the children. Oh the shock. Who could have possibly predicted that?
In his first major show of philanthropy, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made a splash by announcing his plan to give $100 million to help turn around Newark, New Jersey’s public schools in an appearance on Oprah in 2010. But nearly four years later, Zuckerberg’s money has run out, having been spent mostly on labor contracts and consulting fees with no noticeable improvement in student performance, a report in the New Yorker reveals.
The IRS is coming for your frequent flyer miles and hotel points.
“I don’t even like cheese.” This guy should be tarred and feathered. Shameful.
Can’t say I blame them. British literature is far superior to American literature.
For decades, British students have grown up reading the American classics To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men and The Crucible. Now, if students want to read those books, it will be on their own time. Harper Lee, John Steinbeck and Arthur Miller are out — perhaps replaced by the likes of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and George Eliot. British Education Secretary Michael Gove has decided that the English literature list for a national exam needs to be more English, so he is swapping American texts in the curriculum for British ones…In a statement, the U.K. Department of Education insisted that no books have been banned. The new guidance “does ensure pupils will learn about a wide range of literature, including at least one Shakespeare play, a 19th century novel written anywhere, and post-1914 fiction or drama written in the British Isles,” a department spokesperson said. The statement also notes that the curriculum sets out minimum requirements and that teachers are free to add any additional texts to the syllabus.