Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Monday, October 31, 2005

Another Look at Segregation Laws

I'm not a fan o Mr. Thomas Sowell, nor the publication which carries his work, Capitalism Magazine. however Mr. Sowell has aquited himself quite well in a piece entitled Rosa Parks: Pursuit of Profit vs. Racism
In which he points out:

Many, if not most, municipal transit systems were privately owned in the 19th century and the private owners of these systems had no incentive to segregate the races.

These owners may have been racists themselves but they were in business to make a profit -- and you don't make a profit by alienating a lot of your customers. There was not enough market demand for Jim Crow seating on municipal transit to bring it about...

The incentives of the economic system and the incentives of the political system were not only different, they clashed. Private owners of streetcar, bus, and railroad companies in the South lobbied against the Jim Crow laws while these laws were being written, challenged them in the courts after the laws were passed, and then dragged their feet in enforcing those laws after they were upheld by the courts.

These tactics delayed the enforcement of Jim Crow seating laws for years in some places. Then company employees began to be arrested for not enforcing such laws and at least one president of a streetcar company was threatened with jail if he didn't comply.

None of this resistance was based on a desire for civil rights for blacks. It was based on a fear of losing money if racial segregation caused black customers to use public transportation less often than they would have in the absence of this affront."


The above is very important to understand in light of our modern day situation. The racist will take your money and smile while doing it. Integration is nothing but a shell game whereby blacks pay other people for services and feel "good" about doing so but feel that doing business with there own is parochial or closed minded. The domination of "other people' doing business in black neighborhoods or owning rental property in black neighborhoods are clear examples of what Mr. Sowell is talking about.

This also underscored the philosophy that slavery itself was abolished because it was soon to be a nonfeasable economic situation. Slaves by thier nature depress wages since you don't need to pay poor whites anything that a slave could do. Furthermore; the mechanization of crop farming would reduce the need for large numbers of slaves. The problem had been what to do with the slave, which is why the so called "Great Emancipator" wanted to ship the Africans set free by the Emancipation Proclamation to Texas. Failing that, blacks became a marginalized group to be exploited economically as owners realized that by keeping a monopoly on business ownership in white hands and keeping blacks in a state of consumption, there would be guaranteed income from one section of the black community,that being the middle class, and ample free labour in the form of prison labour, from another segment, the black poor.

Remember, he (or she) that does business with you still may hate you.

links:
http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4457
What Is Wrong With A Segment of Our Youth?

If you don't know, a man was shot yesterday after confronting two "kids" who threw eggs at his vehicle. Yes, let me repeat this. A man was shot by two "kids" who threw eggs at his vehicle. Apparently after his vehicle was hit, he chased after the kids who ran into a building and then shot the driver. Now when I first heard the report I thought the driver of the vehicle had shot the kids. But NO, the kids, who had vandalized his property took offense to the man asking them to clean off his car and shot him. These "kids" were 14 and 15 years old and BLACK. Exactly what kind of parenting did they have that made them think it was OK to shoot someone whose property they were caught vandalizing? What kind of logic were they using to suppose that shooting the man was a better outcome than just cleaning the vehicle? I'm not even going to entertain the thought that the vehicle driver should not have come out of his car. You want to know why? because he and the rest of the citizens should not have succumb to these thugs.

What possible reason did they have for this? It wasn't poverty. They weren't killing to get a buck or steal a car to sell to a chop shop. They didn't need the car for shelter. No they thought vandalizing his vehicle was fun. They thought shooting the man was justified 'cause they "take no shorts." they "Take no disrespect."

Well how about you take a needle to the arm. Does that sound harsh? I don't think so. You make a bad choice in who you have unprotected sex with, you die. No different, Bad choice, Death sentance.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks: But She Sat!

Yesterday Rosa Parks, the symbol of the 50's Civil Rights Movement, died at a ripe old age. Everywhere we are hearing how her bold move to sit in a segregated bus "ignited" the Civil Rights Movement. without disrespecting Egun Parks I would like to put her actions into a different perspective. The movie "The Barber Shop" sparked controversy when one of it's characters minimized Rosa Parks actions that fateful day. But students of history know that while the comment may have been crude, it was bassed in fact. The fact of the matter is that others before Rosa Parks had in fact sat in the face of the same order. Civil Rights organizations chose not to make those incidences rallying points because of some "character flaw" in the oppressed individual. One such individual was a single mother of the "lower economic class" to take a phrase from Bill Cosby. The leadership at that time did not feel that such a person would be "right" for a challenge to the segregation laws in Montgomery Al.

This is significant because it exposes a few overlooked issues. First there was already a movement, however flawed,against the Montgomery segregation laws. Also said movement involved many women whome are usually overlooked in favor of men, MLK Jr. in particular. Lastly, the simmerling class issues within black communities that deemed a single mother as being not 'suitable" to represent resistance to segregation.

Thus, while we honor Egun Parks for being bold when so many were not we should think on those others who's acts of defiance were never reported on, who probably died in the woods somewhere on some tree, or like Emmett Till, found themselves in a river. These people also deserve recognitions just as the "unknown soldiers" are recognized. We should also address the class problem in Black communities where we do not see the crimes done to our poorer bretheren as being "not as bad" as one done to someone of "higher standing."

So I salute Egun Parks for being one of many who resisted injustice in their own way.

Ase-O!!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Religion as Mind and body Control

This evening while reading the NY Times online I stumbled across an article entitled:Afghan Court Gives Editor 2-Year Term for Blasphemy. The general point was that the "conservatives" of that country wanted to follow Sharia and put the man to death for writing an article about Apostacy. In his article he claimed that Apostacy was taboo but not against Sharia. To be honest I have no idea whether or not Apostacy is against Sharia but I'll take the claim at face value. But this commentary is not really about the event but rather the idea that a person should be put to death for either questioning a religious tenet or for abandoning the "faith" of a particular society.

What purpose does killing a person for renouncing Islam serve? Really? Is God threatened by one of it's creations deciding not to believe in the particular path that his or her society laid out to deal with it? Or is it really that the society or the religion is actually serving the wishes of the weak minded and weak willed of that society? Surely if apostacy was such a threat to God or it's created material world, God would, being omnipotent, eliminate that person from existance. But that does not happen. There are any number of Islamic apostates that are walking around with God's full knowledge and the universe as we know it has not collapsed.

Therefore, if God is not so threatened by these Apostates, then it means that some other being is threatened. That being is man. And I mean man as in the male species. It is clear that the killing of the Apostate individual is an act of social control meant to keep the rest of society in line. After all, if someone can renounce the religion and live, then what would stop him or her from challenging the authority of so called religious leaders? Of course this is exactly what is feared. Thus the idea that the apostate must be killed is not a rule that serves God but rather the egos and thirst for power of the Apostate's executioner.

It is interesting that in other religions such as Buddhhism and my own, Ifa, does not attempt to stifle the questioning individual. The individual is free to believe or not believe. In Ifa it is the individual that threatens him or herself by not observing the religious obligations. The Orisa, agents of God (Olodumare) are their to aid the individual to achieve and maintain Iwa Pele (good character). It is recognized that even "believers" can be mistaken. The Ifa Corpus has many examples of characters doing good or ill by following or not following the advice of Ifa. Therefore it is not that the age of the religions are the cause of the apparent egoism and power trips of "conservatives" it is that there are deeply flawed outgrowths from Islam's roots that have allowed men to do nothing but oppress women (while having sex with boys as is done in Afghanistan)and do nothing to move their societies forward.

Ultimately a religion that stoops to violence and killing in order to maintain control of it's members is a religion in serious need of reformation.
That Dress Code Thing

So the NBA want's a dress code for it's players who are off court. Sounds good. The NBA want's it's employees to dress in suits and no doo-rags, sneakers or gold chains. I'll stop here and note that the aforementioned "no-no's" are clearly black/urban/Hip Hop dress.

According to the Baltimore Sun:

Now, the NBA is trying to change its image with a memo issued Monday that orders players to dress more boardroom than schoolyard. The "business casual" code means no T-shirts, no baggy jeans, no retro jerseys, no hats, no chains and no athletic shoes at team or league events. Players not in uniform at games must wear a sport coat and dress shoes.

hmmmm. Before I get into the approved uniform, I'd like to deal with some other issue, I didn't see raised here: There's a saying that people should dress appropriate for the job Thus, if you were seeking or working a construction job then one would be out of place and dressed inappropriately if you wore an Armani suit. In my own field, showing up in a suit is bad since I'm liable to be on the floor or carrying heavy, dusty computers around. You do not want to ruin an expensive dress shirt on that kind of job. I think the NBA should be looked at in the same way . The ball players are athlets, there dress code is shorts, sneakers, sweatbands, jerseys and other athletic wear. So it seems to me that with the exception of the Doo-Rags (which I personaly don't think should be worn outside but that's another story) and gold chains, the Atheletes who dress in such "atheletic/Hip Hop" clothes are in fact "dressed for the job."

In fact I would say that the athletes wearins Armani suits are in fact "out of uniform" and not "dressed for the job." The money people, the managers, etc. who are not Athletes should be made to wear suits to make sure they "stay in uniform." But even that presents a problem. See there's this CEO who insists upon wearing baggy pants, sweaters and sneakers in public and in his dailyh business. In fact he has a rather "bad" habit of wearing baseball caps, tilted to the side no less. Yet this CEO is not only taken seriously, but is considered one of the best CEO's in his business. Of course I speak of non-other than Russel Simmons. Def Jam or BMG have never even attempted to THINK publicly about Russel Simmons dress because Rusell Simmons has enough power and self respect to not be told how to dress by other people,. Hence I get to my position on this matter.

As Allen Iverson pointed out, The atheletes are grown men and can dress however they want, off court. It is only the fact of the 'high negro quotient" of the NBA that this even went anywhere. The fact is that when some cracka who lost his mind and tossed a drink at a player got served, the NBA was shook that the Negroes were attacking the good white folks and wants to regain control over the black cash cows.

Another obvious racial/cultural component is what is considered "appropriate dress".
Players not in uniform at games must wear a sport coat and dress shoes.
I have a problem with that too. So should one of the "negroes" show up courtside with a Abada, Grand Bubu, or Dashiki, I guess he'll be looking at a fine too.

Yes folks, this is in fact another power and control grab by the white folks in the NBA (and thier black side kicks) over black players. I think all the athletes should show up in whatever culturally appropriate "uniform" they choose and refuse to play until the management realizes that "captian" cracker days are done. You want a uniform, you want to single out urban wears, you come to the players and ask for a compromise. That's respect. Show some.
Faith Based America

So while I was on Alternet this morning I read a article entitled Welcome to Faith Based America in which the following was reported:

As part of President Bush's "faith-based initiative," US taxpayers gave the Salvation Army's children services division $47 million this year -- 95% of its total budget. Several Salvation Army employees refused to take the Salvation Army's pledge "proclaiming Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord," reveal which church they belong to or identify gay co-workers -- and were summarily fired.

It links to a Washington Post article in which we find:

U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein noted that all the plaintiffs worked for a children's services division of the Salvation Army that gets 95 percent of its $50 million budget from government grants.

But the judge's 48-page opinion upheld the principle that a religious group can hire and fire employees on the basis of their religious beliefs and practices, even if their salaries come from taxpayer funds. That principle is at the heart of the Bush administration's policy.

"It's huge," H. James Towey, head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, said of the decision. "It's certainly a vindication of what President Bush has been saying from Day One -- that religious groups do not have to sell their soul, compromise their hiring practices, in order to partner with government in providing social services."


This is a very important and clearly wrong judicial decision that clearly violates Church-State boundaries that Mr. Bush et. al. are bent on destroying.

If a school receives federal funds it cannot discriminate against protected classes. Now the 1954 civil rights legislation makes it clear that religion based organizations may hire and fire based on religion since religion is the basis of the organization's founding. Now Non-profit entities such as the Salvation Army do not pay taxes so long as they abide by the rules of 501c(3) regulations.

So we see that there is a conflict of interest here. The government cannot by law give funds directly to organizations that discriminate, yet "faith based" organizations are free to discriminate. Lets look at the ethics here:

People look for work. Much of what the Salvation Army does requires low skilled labor. People with low skills in America are more likely to be poor and, hence in need of employment. If one of those persons were to apply for a job they are qualified for you would think that the Salvation Army, being a charitable organization, would welcome the opportunity to provide employment to people. In fact, the last page of it's Annual report states:

THE SALVATION ARMY, AN INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT,
IS AN EVANGELICAL PART OF THE UNIVERSAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
ITS MESSAGE IS BASED ON THE BIBLE.
ITS MINISTRY IS MOTIVATED BY THE LOVE OF GOD.
ITS MISSION IS TO PREACH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST
AND TO MEET HUMAN NEEDS
IN HIS NAME WITHOUT DISCRIMINATION.


Thus ethically, and by it's own mission statement, the Salvation Army is out of line for making demands on the employees. Secondly, since the organization clearly states that it exists to "Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ," then it should not be receiving any funds from the Federal, State or Local government for it's activities. If it does receive such funds, then they should be made to show that the monies were used in activities that did not involved "Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

According to it's 2004 Annual report the Salvation Army recvieved 11%$ of its finding from the "government." It's budget was $3,040 million, 11% of which was $334,000,000 of US Taxpayer money
$60 million more than went to HBCU's in that year. $30 million more than was allocated for Community Development Loan Guarantees. There are many programs that the $334 million could have gone to but, no, it was given to an organization to prosyletize and discriminate against employees involved in addressing human needs.

Now it has been posited that folks who are not Christian should not work at an organization that is Christian. I would agree, except, well we supposedly work in a secular country where discrimination is prohibited. I do wonder whether the peeople who donate to the Salvation Army know that it discriminates and harrasses it's employees. I wonder if the Salvation Army checks the religion of the folks donating to it. I mean if employing and paying non-believers is a problem for the Salvation Army, then taking the money of non-believers should be a problem as well.

I'd like my portion of that $334 returned.

Monday, October 17, 2005

All the news fit to print eh

The New York Times, long and often attacked as being a "Liberal" paper had a very interesting thing happen this weekend. It had no news of the Millions More Movement. There was reporting of the vote in Iraq, sports, house building, but no news on the Millions More Movement. Now it's not that you must agree with Min. Farahkhan or Jesse Jackson or Al Shapton. I would simply think that a couple thousand black folks on the Great Lawn would at least lend itself to at least a 2 paragraph note on the event. Maybe a picture. But no. Just now I did a search on the NYT website for Millions More Movement and came up with nada, zero, zilch, the big bupkiss. I also did another search on "black incarceration." and I got more than 1 result. I got quite a few results actually. It would appear the so called "liberal" NYT's finds reporting on black incarceration more 'newsworthy" than the goings on and opinions of the non-incarcerated among us.

So I'd really like to know. Does Bob Herbet have anything to say on the subject? No, I guess not. So it appears that here in 2005 Ralph Ellison still has it right. Black folks, Invisible, unless we're committing a crime or dancing a gig.

Thanks NYT's for reminding me of what's really "fit to print." At least online.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

On Chavez

Today I read an article on counterpunch that discusses Chavez, his roots and his ideology. This would be a good read for everyone and underscored why I disliked Kerry as much as Bush because Kerry was just as wrong on Venezuela and Chavez as Bush was so as far as I was concerned: same diff.

Quote:
he white elite has not been amused by Chávez's recent moves. For them, the new president was an outsider. In contrast to previous leaders in Venezuela and throughout the region who identified with the outside European world, Chávez loudly proclaimed his indigenous and African roots. Chávez himself seems well aware of the race issue. According to the Venezuelan president, racial tensions have increased since his election. "There is racism here," Chávez remarked. "It used to be more hidden and now it is more open." Chávez's opponents, who argue that racism does not exist in the country, charged that the president exploits the race card for political gain. According to Fletcher, the Chávez opposition "has attacked him [Chávez] using racist language and imagery which would be totally unacceptable in public discourse in the USA." The Venezuelan elite has used racial slurs to taint Chávez, denouncing him as a black monkey. According to author Tariq Ali, "A puppet show to this effect with a monkey playing Chávez was even organized at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. But Colin Powell was not amused and the Ambassador was compelled to issue an apology." The attacks continued when Venezuelan media commentators referred to the Minister of Education, Aristobulo Isturiz, who is black, as "a monkey" and "an ape." Meanwhile, analysts have remarked upon the racial undertones of political conflict in Chávez's Venezuela. "Class and skin color differences," remarks Wilpert, "clearly correlate very highly at demonstrations, such that the darker skinned (and presumably lower class) support the Chávez government and the lighter skinned (and presumably middle and upper class) oppose the Chávez government."

links:http://www.counterpunch.org/kozloff10142005.html

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Millions More Movement

So today was the Millions More Movement. I didn't go. I thought about it, but based on my experience last time, I simply did not feel like driving 3 hours to stand on wet grass and listen to speeches for the day and then drive 3 hours back to NY. SO I watched the speeches on C-SPAN.

What I saw on C-SPAN was much like what I experienced 10 years ago at the MMM. So I don't feel that I missed much, except the drive and the stand. I won't get into how many people may or may not have shown up because ultimately I don't think it's very important. What is important is what happens after tomorrow (This was a 3 day event). I just wanted to make some observations though:

1) Religion: While I "rested my eyes" I heard a speaker say that the only basis for black people to unify is around spirituality because we don't have a culture with which to rally around. While I think that the point about shared culture is valid to an extent, I must disagree with "spirituality" being the basis of unity. Firstly, if we are discussing a Pan-African government and society in which multiple types of people are involved, we have to realize that as small a minority as they may be, there are those who do not believe in God. Furthermore it is not the place of a movement for empowering black people to dictate that they must believe in God.

The second problem with the "spirituality" arguement is the insistance by many to define God in masculine terms. There are many of us who simply do not agree with this and we are slowly but surely voicing our position that we will not sit by and be silent while assumptions about "God" are made by those who claim to represent us.

This brings me to the second isssue. I watched a Reverend, whos name I don't recall start preaching about Jesus. Again, in the wish for unity, I don't see why that was relevant (though I'm sure he thought so) or neccessary. He should have gotten a clue when his calls for "Amen" went largely unanswered. If Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton could refrain from "preaching" (and I didn't catch all of thier presentations) then this particular individual should have refrained as well. Of course if Jesse Jackson did preach, then this last comment is out the window ain't it?

It appears that we have forgotten the lesson that Brother Malcolm X taught us: Leave your religion in the closet because it can become a point of friction and fractionalization when dealing with unity issues.

The second issue deals with a portion of Farahkhan's speech were he discussed the slowness of African unity. He was very brief on the subject, but I think that the issue should be looked at in more detail. There is quite a bit of "tribalism" that will prevent the unification of Africa. There is not only ethnic "tribalism" but also growing religious "tribalism" that will tear apart coutries like Nigeria and Sudan much like we saw in Rwanda. This post is not going to venture to discuss a solution for this problem especially since much of these issues are ingrained for hundreds of years.

What I liked very much about the MMM was that the speakers spoke on many issues that have been co-opted by so called Black Conservatives. This made patent liars out of those so called "Black conservatives" who make their living attempting to smear us, us being the radicals, of being anti-family, anti-marriage, anti- self responsibility, anti-business. They were exposed for being that which we have always known them to be: white racists in black skins. can they honestly say that they had no clue that we were pro-family? and pro-Self-Responsibility? If they say that then they are exposed for not being in touch with the black radical community. That would also mean that they, like their white counterparts, base thier opinions on the grossly distorted information fed by the media.

I hope that the parishoners of those Reverends that spoke out against this event see their preachers and leaders for what they are.

Lastly I hope that those people who didn't go because they were not inclined to "black radicalism" have the chance to see the breadth of us and decide to join in.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

In The Shadow Of Zimbabwe

The BBC has reported that South Africa is begining to liberate land from Afrikaners to return to blacks.

It appears that for the past 11 years the Government of South Africa has been trying to repatriate 1/3 of white "owned" land back into black hands but have only managed to transfer 4%. In this particular case we find that the value of the land to be in dispute:

Quote:
Mr Visser has the 500-hectare (1,250-acre) cattle and crop farm in Lichtenburg in North West province.

His family bought it in 1968, but a black family has lodged a claim to the property dating back to the 1940s.

Over the past two-and-a-half years, Mr Visser and the Land Claims Commission have been trying to negotiate, but failed to agree on the value of the property.

The government had offered to buy the farm for $275,000 but Mr Visser says it is worth almost twice as much.

Mr Visser now has 21 days to respond to the notice of expropriation.


In my opinion Mr. Visser should consider himself fortunate to be receiving any "compensation" for "his" land.

Having said that, having seen what a mess land transference can become, a -la-Zimbabwe, I hope that Mbeki and the ANC are very carefull in this plan. They need to make sure that land is given to persons qualified to continue the farming done there. I agree that the governemnt is right to use "eminent domain" on these lands, but they should be carefull to not scare off expertise that will be needed for at least a generation. I cannot stress it enough, that this land issue should not become cronyism.

links:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4340396.stm

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Join the Ummah

So I'm perusing Black Electorate when I stumble across this article by Carol Wolman entitled:

Why Americans should observe Ramadan which struck me was plain WRONG for many reasons. First we have this:

Muslims all over the world consider themselves part of the body of Islam, called the ummah. This is their primary identity, stronger than national loyalty. "Islam" means "peace", and "Muslim" means "servant of God". During Ramadan, most Muslims are praying for peace. The jihadis are aberrant, heretical- Islam has no place for targeting civilians or killing people who have not attacked them. On the other hand, an attack on any Muslim is considered an attack on the entire ummah, and self-defense is legitimate, according to the Qu'ran.

Firstly, Islam does not mean "peace." I don't know who told Carol this but it is wrong. Islam means submission to God. "Salaam" means peace. With such a basic mistake how can the reader even begin to take the rest of the article seriously. Why didn't the editor of this online journal correct this before it's posting? Anyway. For some reason the author wants us to believe that in spite of the vast history available to us, Jihadis are an aberration. Yah, OK. SUURE.

Then Carol puts this out there:

Any American who considers him/herself a servant of God can join the ummah and observe Ramadan. There are no special ceremonies needed to become a Muslim, one simply has to accept Allah, and the validity of Muhammed's prophetic mission. This is a sticking point for right-wing Christians, who are taught by their false prophets that Allah is a moon god, and not the same as Eli, the God of the Bible. Muslims and the Qu'ran, however, emphasize that Allah IS the God of the Bible, that Jesus is the ultimate leader, and that Muslims are descended spiritually from Abraham, through his older son Ishmael.

Oh I see, It's not really about fasting, it's about becoming a Muslim. See that's the problem. You'll note that the author wants us to believe that rejection of the institution of Islam is a by product of right wing Christianity. Note to author: Some of we aren't even Christians. But I don't want to dwell on that point. What is important here is the discussion of the Ummah, Jihadis and why taking Carol's advice is a bad idea.

The modern ideology of Jihad was authored by Sayyid Qutb of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. While imprisoned he wrote that the world is divided into two realms:

Dar Al-Islam- The abode of Islam. and Dar Al-Harb- The abode of war. He wrote that Muslims should not fight for a particular piece of land, but rather the whole Dar- Al -Islam, which we shall refer to as the Ummah. Dar Al Harb is any place that hampered the practice of Islam and/or failed to apply Sharia. Furthermore the abode of war should be combated even if one's own relatives, national group, capital and commerce are there.

Later another Egyptian, Muhammad Al-Farag, a leader in Jamaat al Jihad movement wrote in a tract entitled "The Neglected Obligation" that Jihad was the sixth pilar of Islam and that armed struggle was an imperative for all true muslims.

"There is no doubt that the first battlefield for Jihad is the extermination of these infidel leaders and to replace them by a complete Islamic Order."

So since the objective of the Jihadi is ultimately to convert the infidel to Islam, the suggestion by Carol, that we join the Ummah, actually plays right into the Jihadi goal. Even though Carol couches her suggestion as a means to oppose the Bush regime, it is simply an unwise and ill informed suggestion. Rather than roll over for the Jihadi, those of us who are not Muslims, should denounce the Bush regime and Jihadis in our own terms from within our own faiths and belief systems.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Black Babies and Crime

Bill Bennett was caught in an interview stating:

But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, you know, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.

An interesting comment to put it lightly. The above comment was in response to a question by a caller questioning Bennett on a hypothesis about the drop in crime being related to the rise in Abortion. The usual suspects raked Bennett over the coals and the usual suspects ran to his defense. Among the unusual suspects, at least to me, was one La Shawn Barber who thinks that Blacks have blown the entire thing out of proportion. She says:

Black women are more than three times as likely than white women to kill their babies in utero. Thirty-six percent of all abortions are performed on black women. Bennett said that is morally reprehensible. But you won’t ever hear the media-addicted Jesse Jackson or the clownish Al Sharpton or the virulent Howard Dean or bigoted John Kerry say that. Your very own NAACP OFFICIALLY advocates the murders of its own people, and over 70 percent of black babies are born to women who didn’t bother to get married and create a stable home for their children, but you’re “outraged” over what some white man said?

And

Third, Bennett’s hypothetical is based on fact. Blacks are 12.3 percent of the population, and about half are black men, which means black men are approximately 6 percent of the U.S. population. [Note: Until I remember where I got a certain statistic and link to the source, I’m deleting it. Look for an update tomorrow. In the meantime, the stats found at BJS are still alarming.] (see Bureau of Justice Statistics). Why aren’t you outraged over those shameful statistics?

Hypothetically speaking, if fewer black boys were born, there’d be fewer around to commit crimes. Bennett didn’t (and couldn’t if he wanted to!) say that all blacks commit crimes. In the aggregate, however, blacks commit a disproportionate number of crimes relative to their numbers in the general population. It follows, statistically speaking, that the fewer blacks there are, the fewer crimes will be committed. This is not a racist statement, people. It is a statistical reality. Blame black criminal thugs for preying on their own people, not Bill Bennett for pointing it out. Illogical!


These are the linchpins of her argument. I won't get into the abortion as murder argument, but I will say that in reference to Bill Bennett's position it is irrelevant. The problem with Bennett's statement is not its reference to abortion, but rather who should or would be aborted to get this great reduction in crime. Why would Mr. Bennett choose to single out the abortion of every black baby? Not black males (whom are the most likely to be incarcerated in the black population) but all black babies? See that really underscores the subconscious understanding that black people are a threat to society. Period. But La Shawn depends upon statistics so lets go there.

According to the Bureau of Prisons as well as the Bureau of Justice Statistics there are 4,919 black male inmates per 100,000 black males in the United States (June 2004). If you divide the black population (~40 mill) in half and do the math (20 mill *4919)/100,000 you would get a total of 983,800 black male inmates or 2.45% of the total black population.

White males are represented by 717 male inmates per 100,000 white males. In 1988 the white/black population ratio was 6.44. If we assume this number to still be accurate then our hypothetical white male population would be 128,800,000 people. Doing the math we did for the black population, we would get another 923,496 inmates. If we put these numbers together we get close to the total prison population of the US as of June 2005 (2,131,180). What immediately jumps out is that following Bennett’s logic, if we aborted every white baby, we would see the same drop in crime, since eliminating all white babies or all black babies would produce, mathematically, the same drop in inmates, and the crimes they committed.

So then, why, if Mr. Bennett is so informed, did he choose to pick on black babies? Hmmmmmm. Perhaps it is because the 2.4% of black males that commit crimes and are convicted of them are more in the forefront of the consciousness of Americans than we would like to believe. After all we get to hear about black males being 4x, 9x and whatever X more than whites to be doing something negative. But when we look at actual numbers we realize we are talking about a relatively small number of people. A relatively small population spread out over many states.

Fully 50% of those incarcerated are for drug offenses. 50%. We already know that, for example, the Rockefeller laws of NY state placed many blacks into prisons for the mere possession of a bit of crack, while powder cocaine users, who are largely white, were getting off easy. Are we then not surprised when in certain locales, blacks make up a large majority of prison inmates and whites do not? This isn't to pooh pooh the drug trade, but merely to show the clear bias in Bennett’s statement. If you wanted to reduce crime (as indicated by incarceration) merely treat crack users like powder cocaine users and voila! Instant drop in crime. Better yet, legalize drug use and realize a full 50% drop in drug crimes, and perhaps a good percentage of it's attendant ills of prostitution, homicides and homicide.

But the statement wasn't really about crime or abortion. The statement was about blacks being perceived as the cause of crime. Crime is a Black problem. Crime wears a black face. This is why we find Bennett’s comments offensive. Not because it was statistically wrong, but that it portrayed crime as a black problem and harkens back to the Eugenicists who claimed that lower class people (blacks and poor whites) ought to not breed in order to reduce the burden on society. We should all be alarmed when such ideas are put forth in such a ways to feed the idea that crime is a BLACK problem.

Of course you don't have to see it that way. You can see it as a simple abortion and statistical issue. But if you see it that way, don't go calling the rest of us names 'cause we don’t.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Not Too Intelligent

This post will fall way out the ordinary fare of this blog. About the only link this has to any subject previously broached here is that it again critiques the religious who insist upon trying to force the rest of us to believe as they do. Back in August Time Magazine had an article about the "debate" between Darwinian Evolution (nee" Evilution to some fundamentalists) and Intelligent Design (nee: Creationism without mentioning the Christian God-Head). And let's be clear here, this is all about the Christian God head, since I am sure that should the schools decide to teach, say, the Kikuyu version of creation, all parties would be unified in attempting to get the school to stop.

However, this isn't about the relative merits of various religious views on creation, rather it is a discussion on why the ID crowd is, scientifically, wrong. I want to point the reader to one of the arguments given for ID as written in Time:

The eye couldn't possibly be the product of accidental mutations, say Darwin's critics. Sure a bird with sharper eyes might catch more prey and have more offspring, but where did the first eye come from? How could a process of gradual improvements produce a complex organ that needs all it's parts-pinhole, lens, light sensitive surface - in order to work? It's no accident, say Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box, that the eye resembles a camera, which everybody instantly recognizes as a product someone designed. "If it looks, walks and quacks like a duck," Behe writes, 'then absent compelling evidence to the contrary, we have warrant to conclude it's a duck."

On the surface this is a simple argument. In fact it's simplicity underscored why it is so bad (and why those who need simple, straight forward answers to things would gravitate to it). Instead of trying to argue for the eye, lets instead look at the camera.

Cameras are in fact the result of many many many different and unrelated inventions and discoveries. The person who made the first camera did not invent each and every piece himself at one time. No the camera is in fact the amalgamation of previously developed parts.

The lens: In order to make a lens one must first have discovered how to make glass. Of course to make glass one had to master fire, sand collection, etc. Clearly those who made a lens were not even remotely thinking of a camera, yet the work to make a lens and different lenses were laid down.

"Focusing Tube": For the sake of argument this is the space between the lens and the element that the image is captured on. Early cameras had flexible "tubes'. These accordion type of material used in early cameras clearly depended upon the invention of that kind of paper or whatever material it was (which is another discussion in itself).

The "Picture taking button": This is a whole other thing here. Something has to actuate the 'blinds" to take the picture. This requires vast knowledge in physics including knowledge of levers, mirrors, springs, none of which were invented with the camera in mind as a purpose.

Clearly then, there are many prior inventions and discoveries that went into the appearance of the camera. None of these events were necessarily related nor do they exist in the camera as they existed when first invented. Thus each individual portion had to appear and "evolve' in order to get to a form that would be useful in the camera. Thus the argument that the pieces of the eye (or camera) could not have "spontaneously occurred" is rendered moot since the camera itself can be proven to be the result of random mutations.

But some would say that since humans made each part then such human intervention is evidence of intelligent design. It is not. In nature cells respond to environmental stimuli. We all know about bacteria that mutate to become immune to medicines. In the human, macrocosm, humans are the "environmental stimuli." The camera, as dissected shows how each piece can and was made without some higher goal of creating this one complex thing, but rather each piece was made in, of and for itself. Similarly each mutation, each symbiotic relationship exists in and for itself.

Going back to the eye argument, Why would the light sensitive cells (retina) be situated right behind the pinhole? Why would they exist anywhere else? It could be argued that the cells that make up the retina are there because that is the only place where light enters the body and the cells are protected. The only other light responding cells in the body is the skin, where Melanocytes will produce more or less melanin in response to sunlight. It is interesting that the retina also produces Melotonin which is considered a master regulator of other hormones in the body. It is entirely possible that retinal cells and Melanocytes had the same job but by some mutation the retinal cells were able to lodge themselves in the eye. It is instructive that Melanocytes and retinal cells arise from the neural crest during embryonic development (In humans). But all of this is besides the point, since I'm not trying to explain how (as I am not qualified to do so).

ultimately the argument that this ID supporter uses is weak. Those unfamiliar with the science behind Darwinian Evolution would fall easily to the arguments behind ID. Unfortunately a great deal of the American public actually has very little science knowledge. So it is no surprise that the arguments are even being considered.