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. 

Read more from The American Conservative…

Pages of the Past

Editor’s note: Following are excerpts from some of the top news items from Brush News-Tribune stories of the past on or near this date in history, written as they would have appeared at the time. BRUSH MAN IS INJURED IN CRASH: Steve Duran, 20, of Brush was apparently going too fast Sunday and when he came to a dead-end road one and one-half miles northeast of the Eben-Ezer hospital, the patrol said, failed to make the turn.

Read more from John Adams …

Starbucks CEO fake ‘quote’ directing patrons of color to skip in line was easy to believe. That says a lot.

If someone on Facebook claimed that Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson had just instituted a policy that would allow minorities to move to the head of the line at all of the coffeehouse chain’s outlets, would you believe it?

Some did, and that suggests Starbucks and other organizations like it have tread so far to the radical left that it’s virtually impossible to distinguish fact from fiction anymore.

Check out the original Facebook post that started this controversy below, and make sure to also read the attached comments:

Relax, it was fake. But some people really believed it.

“That’s it! Enough of this white Guilt CRAP! I don’t need coffee that bad!” bellowed one incensed Facebook user.

“I’ll take my white privilege somewhere else!” wrote another.

Sighs …

While it’s tempting to blame these users for being so susceptible to false information, perhaps the blame lies elsewhere.

In the wake of a Philadelphia-based Starbucks calling the cops on two black patrons two months ago after they refused to leave, the coffeehouse chain launched a “progressive” campaign to force left-wing dogma about “implicit bias” down its employees’ throats.

This despite the fact that loitering and trespassing on a private business are grounds for removal/arrest no matter what color you are. But all that apparently mattered to Starbucks was that the far-left was accusing it of being racist.

The notion of “implicit bias” is in itself very suspect, and studies have shown that so-called “implicit bias” training leads to no fruitful results. Starbucks was so desperate to appease the left-wing mob that it didn’t care, though.

Starbucks isn’t the first company (or government agency) that’s succumbed to the far-left’s nonsense, nor will it be the last. And when so many basic societal institutions fall prey to craziness, can you really blame everyday Americans for falling hook, line and sinker for the craziest brand of fake news? Not really.

(Labeled For Reuse Google Image)

If you think about it, it’s not really fake news that’s the problem, as the left would have everyone believe. It’s rather the ongoing deterioration of American society courtesy the left’s racial pandering,  political correctness and soft bigotry of low expectations.

Case in point: If someone told you that a university professor had demanded that his school stop hiring white people because “cis het white people need to lose more,” would you believe it?

If you answered no, then whoops, you got it wrong,  because that really happened!

What if someone told you that a singer had demanded that white audience members move to the back of an music festival? Is that fake news or real news?

Again, it’s real news.

Last but not least, what if someone told you that former President Barack Obama had revealed to the media that he “distrusts white people” because they lie so much? Is that fake or real news?

THAT is actually fake news, but in case you thought it was real, don’t feel bad!

Read more from BRP – BizPac Review…

Palestinian leader’s health apparently improving in hospital

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appears to be making a swift recovery in hospital from his latest health troubles. His office released a photo and a brief video clip late on Monday showing him walking in the hospital …

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Why I Get Furious When Anti-Gunners Think We Support Mass Shootings

Yesterday was kind of a rough day for me. Most of you don’t know and don’t care about my personal life, and that’s fine. I’m just some guy who writes about gun rights on the internet. You don’t need to know anything about me.

But this time, you might find my personal life a little interesting. It relates to why I get so damn furious when anti-gunners claim we somehow want to see people die in mass shootings, that we somehow don’t care.

For me, mass shootings aren’t just a thing that happens. They’re a little personal. It’s why a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher absolutely infuriated me with this tweet.

You see, six years ago yesterday, I lost a dear friend in a mass shooting.

The place was a coffee shop in Seattle, Washington called the Cafe Racer. I’ve never been there, though it’s on the list of places to visit if I get the chance. I have no idea if the coffee is any good or not, and I really don’t care.

What I care about is that it was a place where a woman named Kimberly Lynn Layfield enjoyed spending time at.

Kim and I met in 8th grade. I’d just transferred into a new school, this one a private school that was created for more working-class families. Because of how so many teachers like to seat people according to the alphabet, I got seated right by Kim.

She was gorgeous, an absolute stunner. She had the kind of looks that let so many girls get away with being total snobs; only Kim wasn’t. She was exceptionally friendly to the new kid and became one of my first friends at the new school. She preferred to hang out with the kids who weren’t the popular ones necessarily. She didn’t like the mean girl schtick, after all, and we were a lot more genuine.

Throughout high school, Kim was there. She was special. Always friendly and eager to meet anyone special in my life. She was smart, funny, and down-to-earth, the kind of person anyone would want to hang out with.

After we graduated and I went into the Navy, I lost touch with her until our fifth-year reunion (yes, we did that). She came in and plopped down right next to me to catch up. She was living in Chicago at the moment, and she was really living. Then we lost touch again until I came across an independent film she’d been in. I emailed the director and asked him to pass my email to Kim.

I heard from her the next day, and we started catching up again.

Because of the time delay between Seattle, where she was living, and Georgia, we didn’t talk all that much. But social media let us stay abreast of what was going on in each other’s lives.

Until six years ago today.

That was when I logged into Facebook and saw activity in the group set aside for people who had graduated from our school. It was there that I learned that one of the fatalities in the Seattle coffee shop shooting the day before was none other than Kim.

At the time, I was the editor and owner of a small local news site. I had the news, no one else did. My journalistic instinct said to run the story. I just couldn’t, though. I wanted verification. Someone had to confirm it. Part of it was wanting to be very professional. The other part was praying that the news was wrong, that Kim was fine and it was a misunderstanding.

It wasn’t.

I’m going to be honest here. For a moment, shortly after I pulled my bawling butt up off of the floor under my desk where I’d collapsed upon hearing the news, I began to rethink my position on the Second Amendment. Could I have been wrong?

A moment later, I remembered that my position included the fact that sometimes jackwagons were going to be jackwagons and I wasn’t about to stop them. No law I could think of, except for possibly an outright ban on all firearms, would have saved Kim’s life. Even a ban might not have done the trick.

In other words, the Second Amendment and lawful gun owners weren’t to blame for Kim’s death. It was a pathetic maniac who couldn’t deal with the fact that the coffee shop didn’t want him in there anymore. That was it.

I don’t know that most of Kim’s circle of friends from back in the day feel the same way. I don’t know either way. I don’t know how her parents feel on the subject of guns, either. I haven’t asked them and, frankly, I don’t want to.

But what I do know is that I get livid when people act like I don’t care about those affected by mass shootings, that I somehow like this kind of thing. It’s bad enough when it’s someone else who has been impacted but imagine how it feels when it’s from someone who has only seen these things on the news?

Contrary to what they might think, violence affects people of all political ideologies. Further, being touched by it doesn’t necessarily transform you into a raging anti-gun zealot.

People on this side of the debate have been touched by violence as well. We simply have a different approach to the problem and pretending we somehow are ambivalent or worse, supportive of such violence, doesn’t help anyone. Instead, it makes it harder and harder to be civil in public debate.

I have no issue that people disagree with me. In truth, I don’t actually think they’re bad people because they disagree with me. I just think they’re wrong.

Meanwhile, they apparently think that I’m evil, all because I refuse to change my mind simply because of feelings, even when that feeling is loss and pain from one of the best people I’ve ever known being stolen from the world.

The post Why I Get Furious When Anti-Gunners Think We Support Mass Shootings appeared first on Bearing Arms.

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US protests Syria’s turn at presidency of international disarmament conference

Formed in 1979, the Conference on Disarmament is a multilateral disarmament forum established by the international community which rotates its presidency according to the alphabetical order of countries’ English names every four weeks. Now, it’s Syria’s turn to take a whack at the Presidency of the international forum. The Americans, still sticking to the chemical weapons attack in Douma narrative, despite the overwhelming evidence that there was no chemical weapons attack in Douma, much less a CW attack carried out by the Assad regime, and which conducted a missile strike on Damascus and surrounding areas, to negligible effect, is walking out and speaking out in protest of Syria’s turn at the forum’s presidency. The US is widely known to have employed depleted uranium munitions in its Iraq war, which war has led to the deaths of over 1 million Iraqis. Either the bad guys had a military of 1 million strong, or else lots of innocent people prematurely met their maker because America needed to make them more free and to find those WMDs Saddam happened to be hiding somewhere. Syria is ‘audacious’ for taking up its role in the international conference, according to the Americans, who are ‘outraged’ at Syria’s alleged malign activities, apparently for daring to attempt to purge its nation of destabilizing and murderous forces, preserve its territorial integrity and that of its government.

Read more from Signs of the Times…

Absent debater

‘Justice for Joe’: Can the former cops who killed Joseph Mann still be prosecuted? Candidate for Sacramento County district attorney says he would review new information against fired police Officer John Tennis. Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert may be running for a second term as the county’s top prosecutor, but she apparently does not enjoy making her case in public.

Read more from Golden State Killer…

Is the FBI Trying to Bolster Its War on Cryptography?

Christopher WrayIf you were to take law enforcement at its word, you would believe that the encryption techniques that secure our data actually end up serving criminals who would do us harm. For the past few years, the FBI and other authorities have revived the “War on Crypto” because they say it prevents them from accessing devices that they need to bring killers and terrorists to justice.

FBI director Christopher Wray has been fond of claiming that the Bureau was locked out of some 7,775 devices last year. In January, he argued that “being unable to access nearly 7,800 devices in a single year is a major public safety issue.”

It turns out that the FBI wildly inflated those figures, according to the Washington Post. The Bureau still doesn’t know the exact number of devices that have apparently been so central in the miscarriage of justice. If previous numbers are to be believed—which have hovered around 700 to 800 devices—the true number is probably closer to 1,000.

The FBI told the Post that “programming errors” were responsible for the over-counting, since they were apparently pulling their numbers from three separate databases. But that excuse seems awfully convenient, given the agency’s recent antagonism towards security technologies.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) issued a scathing letter to the FBI in response to their admission of error, chiding that because the FBI is “struggling with basic arithmetic” it should “not be in the business of dictating the design of advanced cryptographic algorithms.” He pointedly noted that such a major miscalculation could either be the product of “sloppy work” or something more nefarious: “pushing a legislative agenda.”

Could this “accidental miscounting” have been a purposeful ploy to undermine strong encryption? A review of the FBI’s recent public and behind-the-scenes activities certainly makes it look that way. The agency has been engaged in an all-out public war on encryption using emotional rhetoric to push for the access into our devices they have long sought.

Encryption technologies have been a chief bugaboo of America’s top feds for about as long as these security technologies have been available to the public, which is to say for most of you and I’s experiences on the internet. In the 90’s, authorities argued that strong encryption techniques were a kind of munition, and tried to prevent computer scientists from deploying security measures. Thankfully, the computer scientists won the previous battles over public-key encryption.

But the question of device encryption has taken on a new political urgency following the high-profile attacks in San Bernardino in December of 2015. With the so-called “Going Dark” problem, authorities argue that the measures that keep our phones secure can prevent them from accessing critical data in an investigation. Thus, they want technology companies to build special government access into our phones, called a “backdoor.”

It is easy to sympathize with investigators who work to bring criminals to justice. But unfortunately, with the San Bernardino incident, it looks like FBI leadership was more motivated by a general antipathy to encryption than a specific need to access particular data.

Consider the specifics of the case. Authorities could have discreetly and respectfully approached engineers for solutions to access suspected terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook’s locked iPhone. After all, the FBI was eventually able to access the phone through a technical tool purchased by a private vendor. No across-the-board security-limiting technology changes needed.

But that’s not what the FBI did. Instead, it engaged in a public-relations blitz against Apple to argue that government operatives needed a backdoor into all of our devices so that they could access data at their leisure. The feds pushed this issue all the way through the courts, attempting to litigate a backdoor, until it eventually turned tail when it was able to access the data without it.

An inspector general’s report from March finds that the FBI “may not have been interested in researching all possible solutions” and “[delayed seeking] and obtaining vendor assistance that ultimately proved fruitful.” One Bureau employee told the IG that the San Bernardino case was viewed as a “poster child” for the Going Dark crusade. As Sen. Wyden’s letter points out, the report suggests that “the FBI was more interested in establishing a powerful legal precedent than gaining access to the terrorist’s iPhone.”

Other evidence corroborates the theory that the intelligence community used Apple as a convenient foil to promote their crusade against encryption as well. In August of 2015, a top lawyer for US intelligence urged authorities to wait for “a terrorist attack of criminal event where strong encryption can be shown to have hindered law enforcement.” Officials could then take advantage of that tragedy to pull on America’s heart strings and put pressure on legislators to finally mandate the backdoors for which they have long salivated. Just a few months later, San Bernardino presented a perfect opportunity.

Thankfully, there has not been another “San Bernardino” that authorities could exploit to promote their political ends. Perhaps this is why the FBI turned to numbers, instead. Without a newsworthy event to point to, FBI director Wray may have found the sky-high number of reported locked phones to be a convenient rhetorical fallback.

But even the lower figure deserves our scrutiny. The mere presence of a locked device in some investigation on its own is not very compelling. Perhaps there is no relevant information on the device. Maybe the device belonged to some suspect who was later cleared. And how many devices are associated with a single case? The lower figure that the FBI provided likely contains many such instances.

What we need to know is how many investigations were significantly hindered because authorities could not access specific data on a specific device. It’s relatively rare for people to solely store data on their phone, given the rise of cloud computing. Much inference can be gleaned from metadata, which is often unencrypted. And perhaps the evidence on any particular device is redundant with other evidence, anyway.

Wyden demanded answers to these and related questions in his blistering rebuke to the FBI. Until we have more information on how many cases fall into this narrower and relevant bucket, we should take the FBI’s figures with a grain a salt.

The FBI should not have inflated the number of devices that they say they cannot access. This egregious error would be especially contemptible if it was a naked lie in pursuit of a policy goal. But even if those figures were true, it wouldn’t really change the Going Dark debate. Undermining encryption would make us all less secure, no matter what the justification for doing this. The FBI’s recent “miscalculations” and behind-the-scenes antagonism toward security technologies suggest that the agency is unfortunately far from internalizing these truths.

Read more from Reason.com…

Armed customer takes out robbery suspect. Now police seek customer for assault with deadly weapon.

An armed customer at a California restaurant’s drive-thru reportedly noticed an attempted burglary in progress inside the restaurant, so he apparently decided to intervene.

The customer allegedly shot through the drive-thru window at the robbery suspect, reportedly striking him twice and helping bring the purported burglary attempt to an end.

Now police are looking for the shooter on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, the Orange County Register reported.

What are the details?

The incident took place in Santa Ana just after midnight Saturday when a masked man reportedly entered The Cozy Corner armed with a revolver and a bag.

The 60-year-old suspect allegedly threw the bag over the counter at an employee and demanded the employee fill the bag with cash.

As the female employee filled the bag with the store’s cash, shots rang out.

A customer, who had reportedly watched the event unfold through a drive-through window, pulled out a firearm and shot through the take-out window at the suspect, striking the suspect at least twice, according to KCAL-TV.

Santa Ana Police Cmdr. Michael Claborn told the Register that the shots shattered the drive-through window.

“It was very dangerous, one of the employees could have been shot,” Claborn said.

Daniel Acevedo, a second restaurant employee, said that three shots reportedly rang out — two of which purportedly struck the suspect, and one that hit the restaurant’s drink machine.

In security video footage of the incident, a car can be see fleeing the drive-through after its driver reportedly fired the shots, leaving the scene entirely.

Acevedo said that he believed that the alleged shooter was trying to help, according to KCAL.

The station reported that police responded to the scene only to discover the suspected robber had made it out of the restaurant and across the street.

The suspected thief was reportedly “shot twice in the upper body and bleeding,” KCAL reported.

Police took the robbery suspect to the hospital for evaluation, and he, at the time of the report, was in stable condition. Police arrested the man on suspicion of robbery suspect, according to the Register.

Now police are seeking the driver of the car who reportedly shot the robbery suspect. According to the Register, the driver is “now wanted on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.”

The outlet reported that a description of the driver was not available at the time of publication.

Francisco Reyno, the restaurant manager, told KNBC-TV that the stolen money — approximately $274 — was recovered.

Read more from The Blaze…