The Racial Double Standard

Coleman Hughes, a black student at Columbia, goes there. His essay begins like this:

In the fall of 2016, I was hired to play in Rihanna’s back-up band at the MTV Video Music Awards. To my pleasant surprise, several of my friends had also gotten the call. We felt that this would be the gig of a lifetime: beautiful music, primetime TV, plus, if we were lucky, a chance to schmooze with celebrities backstage.

But as the date approached, I learned that one of my friends had been fired and replaced. The reason? He was a white Hispanic, and Rihanna’s artistic team had decided to go for an all-black aesthetic—aside from Rihanna’s steady guitarist, there would be no non-blacks on stage. Though I was disappointed on my friend’s behalf, I didn’t consider his firing as unjust at the time—and maybe it wasn’t. Is it unethical for an artist to curate the racial composition of a racially-themed performance? Perhaps; perhaps not. My personal bias leads me to favor artistic freedom, but as a society, we have yet to answer this question definitively.

One thing, however, is clear. If the races were reversed—if a black musician had been fired in order to achieve an all-white aesthetic—it would have made front page headlines. It would have been seen as an unambiguous moral infraction. The usual suspects would be outraged, calling for this event to be viewed in the context of the long history of slavery and Jim Crow in this country, and their reaction would widely be seen as justified. Public-shaming would be in order and heartfelt apologies would be made. MTV might even enact anti-bias trainings as a corrective.

Though the question seems naïve to some, it is in fact perfectly valid to ask why black people can get away with behavior that white people can’t. The progressive response to this question invariably contains some reference to history: blacks were taken from their homeland in chains, forced to work as chattel for 250 years, and then subjected to redlining, segregation, and lynchings for another century. In the face of such a brutal past, many would argue, it is simply ignorant to complain about what modern-day blacks can get away with.

Yet there we were—young black men born decades after anything that could rightly be called ‘oppression’ had ended—benefitting from a social license bequeathed to us by a history that we have only experienced through textbooks and folklore. And my white Hispanic friend (who could have had a tougher life than all of us, for all I know) paid the price. The underlying logic of using the past to justify racial double-standards in the present is rarely interrogated. What do slavery and Jim Crow have to do with modern-day blacks, who experienced neither? Do all black people have P.T.S.D from racism, as the Grammy and Emmy award-winning artist Donald Glover recently claimed? Is ancestral suffering actually transmitted to descendants? If so, how? What exactly are historical ‘ties’ made of?

Hughes goes on to lament the double standard the public applies to famous black writers. For example:

The celebrated journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates provides another example of the lower ethical standard to which black writers are held. In his #1 New York Times bestseller, Between the World and Me, Coates explained that the policemen and firemen who died on 9/11 “were not human to me,” but “menaces of nature.”1 This, it turned out, was because a friend of Coates had been killed by a black cop a few months earlier. In his recent essay collection, he doubled down on this pitiless sentiment: “When 9/11 happened, I wanted nothing to do with any kind of patriotism, with the broad national ceremony of mourning. I had no sympathy for the firefighters, and something bordering on hatred for the police officers who had died.”2 Meanwhile, New York Times columnist Bari Weiss—a young Jewish woman—was recently raked over the coals for tweeting, “Immigrants: They get the job done,” in praise of the Olympic ice-skater Mirai Nagasu, a second-generation Japanese-American. Accused of ‘othering’ an American citizen, Weiss came under so much fire that The Atlantic ran twoseparate pieces defending her. That The Atlantic saw it necessary to vigorously defend Weiss, but hasn’t had to lift a finger to defend Coates, whom they employ, evidences the racial double-standard at play. From a white writer, an innocuous tweet provokes histrionic invective. From a black writer, repeated expressions of unapologetic contempt for public servants who died trying to save the lives of others on September 11 are met with fawningpraise from leftwing periodicals, plus a National Book Award and a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant.

Hughes says this double standard is common in society:

But we make an exception for blacks. Indeed, what George Orwell wrote in 1945seems more apt today: “Almost any English intellectual would be scandalised by the claim that the white races are superior to the coloured, whereas the opposite claim would seem to him unexceptionable even if he disagreed with it.” Only a black intellectual, for instance, could write an op-ed arguing that black children should not befriend white children because “[h]istory has provided little reason for people of color to trust white people,” and get it published in the New York Times in 2017. An identical piece with the races reversed would rightly be relegated to fringe white supremacist forums. In defense of such racist drivel, it won’t suffice to repeat the platitude that ‘black people can’t be racist,’ as if redefining a word changes the ethical status of the thing that the word signifies. Progressives ought not dodge the question: Why are blacks the only ethnic group routinely and openly encouraged to nurse stale grievances back to life?

Read the whole thing. It’s very, very brave. Hughes is a black undergraduate at an Ivy League university, yet he has no been afraid to say what has been unsayable. That man has guts.

By the way, his essay is not merely an exercise in whataboutism. He addresses real philosophical and moral concerns in it. He focuses on blacks, but as a general matter, if you read the mainstream press, you’ll find there’s a tendency to treat gays and other minority groups favored by liberals with kid gloves — as if they were symbols, not real people, with the same virtues and vices that everybody else has. For example, in a previous job, I observed that some liberals in the newsroom viewed local Muslims through the lens of the culture war between liberals and conservatives, and did not want to hold them to the same standard with regard to extremist rhetoric, apparently because doing so might encourage conservatives in their own biases.

Another personal example: last year, I wrote several posts about Tommy Curry, a radical black nationalist who teaches philosophy at Texas A&M (see here and here). In his written work and spoken advocacy, Curry advocates what can only be described as anti-white hatred. Don’t take my word for it; go read the blogs I wrote, which quote generously from, and link to, Curry’s own work. A white man who spoke the same way about any racial minority would never have been hired by a university — A&M hired him knowing exactly what they were getting, because he had published — and would never be retained by one after his racism became known. I linked in one of the blogs to a podcast (subtitled, “White People Are The Problem”) on which Curry was a regular guest; on that particular episode, this philosophy professor argued that white people cannot be reasonable, because they are white.

Imagine being a white student in that man’s class.

But there is a different standard for bigots from the left. The Chronicle of Higher Education wrote a long piece about the fallout from my blogs, and positioned it as Curry having suffered because he wanted to “force a conversation about race and violence” — a conversation that people didn’t want to hear. The writer — no doubt reflecting the biases of his own professional class — could not seem to grasp why people would be really offended by the unapologetic racism of Tommy Curry’s writing and speaking. This is precisely the double standard that Coleman Hughes decries. It is lucrative for radicals like Curry, Coates, and others, but a just society should hold us all to the same standard of discourse and morality. This is one aspect of the Enlightenment that I am eager to defend. It’s not only morally right, but practically, observing it it is the only way we will be able to keep the peace in a pluralistic country.

I found Hughes’s essay via Prufrock, a free daily digest that comes to you in e-mail, to which you can and should subscribe by clicking here. 

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Waco

“Five thousand people to every one officer of the law. You know how we keep order with those odds?” asks one senior FBI agent in Paramount’s new TV miniseries Waco. “Because they believe we are more powerful than we are. We project strength and the people believe in that strength.”

The line is startling in its brutish cynicism, but it accurately sums up the lesson of Waco‘s six-episode dramatization of the infamous and deadly 1993 standoff between the federal government and the Branch Davidian religious sect.

Government agents are shown as almost uniformly incompetent, heartless, and oblivious to the consequences of their decisions. The Davidians are meanwhile depicted as mostly honest, sympathetic, and smart people taken in by charismatic messiah figure David Koresh. Bridging the gap is an FBI negotiator, Gary Noesner, who pushes his bosses to treat the Davidians as human while constantly fretting about the dangers of militarized cops.

At Waco‘s heart is a sharp critique of power and those who exercise it. This includes federal agents as well as the cult leader, whose own manipulative emotional hold over his followers eventually leads everyone to their doom. Though at times ignoring Koresh’s flaws and those of his acolytes, the show is a refreshing rehabilitation of a group of people unfairly derided for too long as murderous cultists up against brave, upright law enforcement.

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Young Boy Goes Missing On Hike. When They Find Him, He Tells The Truth About His Father.

A young boy who was lost in the Utah wilderness remarkably survived. And he did it with some basic survival skills his father had taught him. Had Malachi Bradley not been armed with this knowledge, he likely wouldn’t have made it out of the frightening ordeal alive. 10-year-old Malachi was hiking with his family in Utah when he wandered off to find some wild mushrooms to cook with the fish he had caught.

He ended up lost in the High Uintas Wilderness of Utah, an area that can be challenging even for those with wilderness survival experience.

His parents were understandably worried about their son, but 30 hours after his disappearance, Malachi was found safe.

The boy’s ability to survive the harrowing experience is impressive, with his aunt further explaining that a week before he went on the trip, the boy and his friends played a game called “What would we do if we got lost?” That exercise in worst case scenarios no doubt was critical in saving Malachi’s life.

He told reporters: “It was weird not having anybody with me, but I just kept going. I knew I had to make it back, or my family would be really sad,” explaining that he “went way too far” when he wandered off.

Malachi attempted to find a road so that he could flag someone down, but was unsuccessful. He drank water from the river using a technique his dad had taught him to filter it, and attempted to spear a fish, with no success.

Malachi further explained how he survived the cold overnight temperatures, saying: “There’s just a ton of giant rocks, so I hid between four of them so the wind wouldn’t hit me too much.” He found that the rocks provided warmth for his body after they had been exposed to the sun during the day.

Malachi’s mother shared her worry about her missing son, saying: “I felt like the forest was so huge. They were showing pictures on a map of how many people they had on the ground, and it felt like it was a tiny amount compared to the vast place that was the forest.”

His dad added: “I was just hoping he was able to stay warm enough.”

Malachi heard the search and rescue helicopters the next day and managed to get to a clearing so he could be found. He was soon discovered, five miles southeast from where he went missing.

His mother said after his rescue: “He’s healthy and he’s coming up and this is going to be all over and it’s not a tragedy.” The medical staff at the scene said the boy was healthy, albeit cold and hungry.

With only a few scrapes and bruises, Malachi returned home and arrived to a celebratory welcome at his school, where kids cheered for him and chanted his name. Malachi’s mom said of his survival story: “I was not going to have to bury my baby. I was so happy to have my baby back. That was a good day.”

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Easter Sunday a success but national rules needed: report

A new report by Retail NZ shows that Easter Sunday trading was a success this year in those Council districts where shops were allowed to open, with the rights of shop workers and customers well-protected if they didn’t want to work or shop. “Nearly 60 per cent of Councils had voted to allow retail businesses to make their own decisions about opening on Easter Sunday ahead of Easter this year, but because most of the big cities were refusing to permit choice, only around a third of retail shops were allowed to exercise their right to choose,” Retail NZ’s General Manager for Public Affairs said today.

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Seattle moves from soaking the rich to … soaking everyone else

As our friend Hugh Hewitt wonders, it’s tough to see why anyone does business in Seattle these days. Fresh off its imposition of a “head tax” on its most successful businesses, the city council has now begun an effort to raise the limit on property taxes on both businesses and homes, not long after the state of Washington already hiked their levies. The city wants to expand free preschool programs and offer free community college, but it will be anything but free to property owners and businesses:

People who own a home in King County are paying about 17% more in property taxes this year than last year to help pay for the state’s funding of public education.

But come November, Seattle leaders will be asking voters to approve a bit more of an increase for city dwellers.

City Council members say while the state funding property tax hike pays for basic education, the levy they want to be renewed will be an extra investment to ensure that kids from preschool to high school will have what it takes to succeed.

But don’t call it a tax hike, says one council member. It’s an enhancement!

In 2014, Seattle voters approved a $58 million levy allowing low-income kids to go to preschool for free. …

“So it’s just an enhancement of the property tax that people are currently paying and have been since 2011,” Gonzalez said.

The mayor’s office projects that it will cost Seattle homeowners an extra $5 a week, but that adds up — and it’s not the only tax enhancement they’ve faced over the last few years. Businesses will undoubtedly get hit harder, either on property they own directly or by increased lease costs from landlords. The Amazons of Seattle will likely be able to absorb it by passing costs on to their customers, as will the wealthier residents of the city so enamored of the idea of offering “free” services funded by others.

It’s the middle class that will get hammered with these tax hikes, and they’re already getting pummeled with all the tax hikes that came before it, as one resident explained:

“It’s not just homelessness. It’s the bike lanes and budget overruns, the Bertha tunnel, and the overruns on that, the First Ave streetcar and overruns on that,” Seattle resident Matt Dubin said. Dubin is a local attorney now running to become a state lawmaker this year. He says he is upset over city leaders squeezing out the middle class. “It’s making it impossible for the middle class to live in Seattle. If we keep going down this road nobody will be able to live in Seattle except for the very rich and the homeless,” Dubin said.

And it might not even stop there. The “very rich” have other options too, and they’ll eventually exercise them. That will leave the few middle-class residents and business owners remaining holding the bag. Better to get out now than get stuck with that bill. Or, better yet, elect city council members with a lick of economic sense and operational competency.

The post Seattle moves from soaking the rich to … soaking everyone else appeared first on Hot Air.

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Zarif: U.S. must accept consequences if nuclear deal is ditched

In the coming days, the United States will have to decide whether to finally abide by its obligations. Iran stands firm in the face “If the U.S. continues to violate the agreement, or if it withdraws all together, we will exercise our right to respond in a …

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