Archive for the ‘Race’ Category.

Well, WTF Was He Supposed to Do?

Update:  Well, apparently my lack of knowledge about the practice of law was particularly evident in the post below, as several readers let me know.   From this source

Since 1978, attorneys in California criminal trials have been forbidden to exercise peremptory challenges based on a lawyer’s belief that certain individuals are biased because they are a member of a specific racial, ethnic or religious group. (People v. Wheeler (1978) 22 Cal.3d 258, 276, citing, Ca. Const., art. 1, § 16 [right to representative trial by jury drawn from cross-section of community], overruled in part by Johnson v. California (2005) 545 U.S. 162, 168-173 [125 S.Ct. 2410, 162 L.Ed.2d 129].) In 1986, the U. S. Supreme Court followed California’s lead and held that jury challenges based on group bias violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Batson v. Kentucky (1986) 476 U.S. 79, 89 [106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69].) This has commonly become known as the "Wheeler/Batson" rule.

I don't want to be that guy whose point is disproved but who sticks by it anyway, but I stick by my point.  It's not clear by the timing that Kaine's actions were even illegal at the time, and the narrative below shows Kaine as responding to behavior of the opposing attorney.  If he did not at the time have access to Wheeler/Batson challenges, then his actions seem a reasonable response.  Again, it would be interesting to hear from attorneys actually involved in trials, but are there many attorneys who don't think the racial makeup of a jury makes a difference, even if they have to be more subtle in managing it?

/Update

The Washington Examiner seems to think they have somehow caught Tim Kaine red-handed:

As an attorney in the 1980s, Tim Kaine once had three white jurors struck from hearing a case in which his client, an African-American, alleged she was discriminated against by the defendant, who was white, the Daily Beast reported Monday.

Kaine explained later that the move was aimed at securing more black people on the jury, thus increasing his client's odds of winning her housing discrimination suit.

The white defendant's attorney employed peremptory strikes on the day of the trial to have three black people removed from the pool of potential jurors, the Daily Beast report explained. Kaine responded in kind: He used peremptory strikes of his own to have three white jurors removed, and succeeded in getting one African-American onto the jury.

Kaine explained later in an article for the University of Richmond Law Review in 1989 that he believed having more black people on the jury would swing things in his client's favor, implicitly admitting the tactic was race-based.

I am not an attorney, but doesn't this happen pretty much every single day in every single court?  This strikes me as about as surprising as a baseball manager substituting in a left-handed hitter to face a right-handed pitcher.  I would think that given any sort of reasonable legal ethics, if Mr. Kaine thought this action would help his client, then he was virtually obligated to do it.

If one wants to lament that black and white jurors come to different sorts of verdicts for black plaintiffs and defendants, then I suppose one could rant about that but it's hardly Tim Kaine's fault.  He has to deal with reality as it is.  If you really wanted a racial gotcha story, imagine  the facts reversed to something like "white defense lawyer refused to strike other whites from jury despite the fact it might have helped his black client."

Postscript:  And yes, I know the Lefty SJW's would have gone apesh*t if a Republican candidate as an attorney had struck black jurors from a trial to help his white client, but that does not make the critique any more correct.

I Still Don't Understand Why Racism is Defined Assymetrically

What if I wrote this:

"For me as a white man, it's really nice to just go out with other white men sometimes," ... "I have to do so much less translation. When you're white around black people, you have to explain every little thing, even with people who are perfectly nice and well-meaning."

My presumption would be that this would be treated as evil and racist.  But what was actually written was this, which by its reception by Kevin Drum and others is apparently perfectly OK

"For me as a black woman, it's really nice to just go out with other black women sometimes," said Sabrina Stevens, an activist and progressive strategist. "I have to do so much less translation. When you're black around white people, you have to explain every little thing, even with people who are perfectly nice and well-meaning."

The answer I generally get for treating racism asymmetrically (e.g. almost anything a white person says about blacks is racist, but nothing a black person says about whites is racist) is that it's all about privilege and power imbalances.  But the author, at least in this passage, is not talking about privilege and power imbalances.  She is merely talking about differences in outlook and perspective, which are presumably symmetric.  She is more relaxed around similar people, which is likely true of many of us.

Drum, fortunately, seems to get the point about safe spaces, that there is a huge difference between people privately creating spaces populated only by folks of their own selection (ie freedom of assembly) and public institutions (such as universities) enforcing segregated groups and spaces, particularly spaces meant to avoid contact with ideas at an institution dedicated to spreading ideas.  The first strikes me as fine, the second as generally unacceptable.    Of course women have spent the last 30 years of trying to purge private spaces where men choose to hang out solely with other men, so they shouldn't be surprised if they get a teensy bit of push back when they try to create such spaces for themselves.

Social Justice Warriors and Original Sin

I have come to the conclusion that the concept of original sin must be one of those that are quite appealing to humans.

For literally millennia, original sin has been a foundational part of much of Christianity.  We were all born with original sin, and so effectively started life with guilt.  It turns out that it is much easier to exercise power over the guilty than over people who consider themselves innocent.  The Catholic Church took advantage of this power by claiming that no individual could wipe away their original sin, their inherited guilt, without active engagement with the Church itself.  I will leave aside theological arguments** here, but conclude that the Church used the original sin doctrine in part to enhance its temporal power.

As Christianity fades somewhat as an active part of Western culture, the idea of Christian original sin seldom comes up much in any practical way.  But that does not mean the world has abandoned the concept of original sin - no indeed.  Racism is one of the classic examples of original sin - in it, someone born black, or Jewish, or whatever, is tainted with an original sin that they cannot wash away, and makes them somehow inferior to others.

Much of what social justice warriors say sounds racist to me, as they often offer negative generalizations of whole groups based on race, or gender, or sexual preference.  In my naive younger days I used to think that judging anyone based on their race rather than their individual actions and values was racism.    However, SJW's have managed to change linguistics in their favor, conveniently redefining racism (or sexism) as only applying to those in historically more powerful groups  (e.g. white males).  By this definition, a black woman can never be a racist, no matter how much she negatively stereotypes other racial groups.

Well, OK then.  I am tired of fighting this definitional issue.  So I will just say that SJW's frequently fall in the trap of believing in original sin.  Whites, males, heteros, successful people - they are all tainted in the SJW mind with original sin, so much that any utterance from any individual in these groups is deemed as having no value and therefore should be ignored or actively suppressed.  This is actually a radical version of original sin that goes way farther than the Catholic Church ever took it, though I would argue it is promulgated for roughly the same reason - to enhance one's power.

 

** Speaking of original sin, in one of the great misconceptions that Christians have of their own religion, the immaculate conception was not Mary's virgin birth of Jesus but rather her own birth without the taint of original sin.

Apparently Beats Headphones are Oppressive and Racist Now

Apparently Beats headphones are now a "symbol of oppression" and wearing them is grounds for being berated and perhaps attacked by protesters.

Now, I always thought Beats were over-priced and over-hyped, and thought they were mainly a marker for people who preferred brand signaling over performance (at the risk of angering some of you, I would put Louis Vuitton bags as the leader of this category of products).

Apparently, making Dr. Dre wealthy(er) from his involvement as a co-founder of the product, and enriching the bank accounts of many other hip hop artists for their endorsements, is now "oppression."  Hmm.  Well, I am happy to do a public service here and take their endorsement checks and thus the burden of this oppression off their shoulders and on to myself.  Who says we libertarians are not public spirited?

So what is next?  I can't see any particular different between Dre's involvement with Beats and Michael Jordan's involvement with Nike -- are Air Jordans the next symbol of oppression?  What am I missing here?

Black Lives Matter Has a Pretty Decent Plan. Too Bad they Don't Seem to Know What to Do With It

There is much to criticize in how the BLM movement operates, but I can get behind much of the plan they introduced last month.  I don't agree with all of it, but I seldom agree with all of any plan I see proposed from any side of the aisle.

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In discussing the plan, Kevin Drum fails to address the elephant in the room for the Left in making progress on this, and that is the enormous reluctance of Democrats to challenge a public employee union.  And you can bet that police unions will likely be the biggest barrier to getting a lot of this done, even perhaps ahead of Conservative law-and-order groups (you can see the token sop thrown to unions in point 10 of the plan, but it ain't going to be enough).

By the way, there is much that progressive and conservative groups could learn from each other.  Conservative groups (outside of anti-abortion folks) are loath to pursue the public demonstration and disruption tactics that can sometimes be helpful in getting one's issues on the public agenda.  The flip side is that public disruption seems to be all BLM knows how to do.  It can't seem to get beyond disruption, including the unfathomable recent threat to disrupt an upcoming marathon in the Twin Cities.   It could learn a lot from Conservative and libertarian groups like ALEC, that focus on creating model legislation and local success stories that can be copied in other places.  Many of the steps in BLM's plan cry out of model legislation and successful pilots/examples.

A Question for Black Lives Matter

BLM coalesced as a reaction to police brutality and lack of accountability for how they treated black citizens.  The organization claims its problems are rooted in the ghetto-ization of blacks that has robbed them of their agency.

Can I observe that both these problems are ones of an out of control, unaccountable, over-powered government?  Police are government officials allowed to operate with few checks on their behavior.  Black ghettos were explicitly created by the New Deal and maintained by Federal policy for years.  No doubt many private citizens are still racist, but they can't legally shoot you on the street or say where you can and can't buy homes.

So why does the leadership of BLM so consistently support the further expansion of government power?