It’s only fair.

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Discussion (44)¬

  1. Mockingbird says:

    Nice one, Author.

    We saw what you did there, making five drawings out of four frames. 🙂

  2. OtterBe says:

    Been awhile since we’ve checked in with Moses! I often wonder what insights his On The Road-trips have brought him

  3. Laripu says:

    I’ve never seen Moses in bed with Jesus and Mo. I know why: racism!

  4. jb says:

    This idea of “structural racism” really bothers me. It’s a myth. It’s invisible, magical, phantom racism that hangs in the air and hides in the walls. It was invented to allow the problems of black people to be blamed on white people even after all anti-black racial discrimination had been purged from the law books and it became impossible to find actual living breathing white racists in any kind of position of authority. It’s an essentially theological concept that isn’t subject to disproof. If black people have problems then white people must be to blame. Who else could be to blame? There’s no one!

  5. Donn says:

    Well, if we’re going to get anything out of the concept of structural racism, even if only by showing that it’s invalid, that calls for a clearer than usual idea of exactly what it is.

    Racism can’t exactly be purged from society by purging it from the legal codes. I personally don’t think it can be purged from society at all, as long as the present level of economic inequality persists. When there’s a category of work that yields poverty level wages, immigrants and other low status populations will do that work, and if there’s a race involved – if poor people look different – then people who look like that will be discriminated against.

    In the US city where I used to live, as elsewhere in the US, there are long standing problems with the police force responding differently to black residents than white. That’s an example. There’s a lot of training etc. going on, but this is going to have only superficial results, while people can do a day’s work and not get paid enough money to thrive.

  6. M27Holts says:

    Aye. The you are only criticising me because of the colour of my skin gambit….Strange how nobody uses the, you are only criticising me because I have big ears gambit….

  7. Mark Joseph says:

    You’ve hit upon one important aspect of wokism; it’s a religion. “Structural racism” (that is, accusing people of being racist, even though they haven’t done or even thought anything racist), is its version of “original sin,” (that is, that all have a sinful nature, even if they haven’t committed any actual sins).

    As should be obvious, it’s merely an organization’s justification for its attempt at a power grab, especially, to control the behavior of others. As will not surprise anyone at all, the organization indulges heavily in what it condemns. John McWhorter has a book out: “Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America,” but it’s an instructive exercise to trace the religious nature of wokism. As an ex-fundamentalist, they kind of rear up and whack me upside the head with a two-by-four.

  8. OtterBe says:

    I believe we did see Moses in bed with the boys—iirc, the punch line was something like, “Yes, but we usually leave our shorts on”

    -and that reminds me: when I was watching Morecambe & Wise a week or two back I only found two skits in which they were in bed. Maybe it was three. From past comments here, I was expecting quite a few. Maybe my Google-fu is just week, but I did search ‘Morecambe and Wise in bed’. Any of you colonizers care to help me out here?

  9. M27Holts says:

    Aye. Once you have been racially tagged as a Priviledged white man you have no defence. You have the mark of Cain that you can never escape…

  10. OtterBe says:

    Ok, so maybe my search-skill is just ‘week’ like my spelling
    {face-palm emoji}

  11. jveeds says:

    Speaking of Moses, I just had a sidewalk conversation with the Jehovahs the other day and was amazed to hear that Moses wrote the bible. (Also, Jesus became “King of Heaven” in 1914). I tried to explain that Moses was executed by God before entering the Promised Land…but the book continues anyway. Doesn’t seem to faze them.

  12. M27Holts says:

    Otterbe…you overponders had Burt and Ernie, muppets up to all kinds of muppetry beneath the sheets…

  13. paradoctor says:

    Some of you are missing the point of being woke. “Woke” has for decades been used by African-Americans to mean the awareness that the system is rigged in favor of the rich and powerful and against the poor and powerless. By that definition, the MAGA-ists are woke, but they identify the victim class as themselves. Not without reason; but that’s only partial wokeness.

    That’s Woke 101. Woke 102 adds that the rich and powerful are also aware that the system is rigged in their favor; so they protect their unjust interests by setting factions of the poor and powerless against each other, to fight over crumbs.

    Central to that diversionary tactic is identity politics, which presents itself as radical but is in fact reactionary. It’s solidarity politics that is truly radical.

    For the color that rules the world isn’t white, nor black, nor tan, nor even blue or red. The color that rules the world is the Long Green.

    99 to 1; I like those odds.

  14. M27Holts says:

    Paradoctor. We are all Africans if you back far enough…

  15. Laripu says:

    Paradoctor, I agree. Another use of “woke” for black Americans was to keep their wits about them when going through a sundown town.

    For Brits that don’t know what that is, there were (and still exist) small US towns where it was dangerous for blacks to be caught out in public after sundown. They could get beaten up, arrested, or killed – for merely existing. (There could be a trumped up charge like resisting arrest, or something. But not necessarily.)

    Societal systemic racism is absolutely real and has had real negative financial effects on black Americans. It isn’t “invisible, magical, phantom racism” as jb wrote. It’s instantiated for things like higher mortgage rates for a black borrowers with literally identical financial statistics to a white borrower. It’s instantiated when someone black comes to rent an apartment and is told it’s already been rented, then a white person shows up 30 minutes later and rents that apartment with no problem.

    These things have been found and prosecuted, but for every one of these examples there are many more that haven’t been stopped.

    The racism has penetrated people’s consciousness to such an extent that sometimes black people do it to black people. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s real. It happens a lot.

    Have a look at this:

  16. M27Holts says:

    Anyways. I always get agitated when people insist on RACE. We are all one species, phenotype descrimination it is, bolted onto cultural descrimination….

  17. Son of Glenner says:

    M27Holts: Whether you like it or not, life is a race – we all pass a finishing line sooner or later, but none of us wins when we reach it.

  18. Eske says:

    @Laripu. We did see that, though it was long ago. use the search tool and write “cozy”

  19. M27Holts says:

    SOG. According to anaethetist I had when having spine decompression surgery, my cardio vascular fitness was equivalent of a fit 20 y.o. I was 55. Given that nobody in my family has died of cancer (and a lot smoked like chimneys) and none went ga-ga , I reckon I will still be going way into my 100’s …and they say that what killed your grandad may kill you, so I’m ok unless I run into waffen SS or Japanese Prison Guards…

  20. mcalex says:

    “… allowances for those guys”
    Is ‘ses sexist as well, or is that the new generic, gender-free ‘guys’? 😛

  21. mcalex says:

    Also – tab order – it gets me every time I comment. Author, is there any possibility you could maybe get the ‘comments’ text box to be next in tab order after the ‘website’ text box. i tab from name to email to website – and then to the top of the screen. It’s quite unexpected. 😀

  22. Son of Glenner says:

    M27Holts: Just watch out for buses, trains, reckless motorcyclists, etc. Is your part of Manchester an earthquake zone? What’s the murder rate there? I presume you have more sense than to set your house on fire, but could your neighbour start a fire?

  23. M27Holts says:

    I live in a detached house with new electrics and a state of the art wireless burglar alarm with smoke alarms and co detectors everywhere. Plus I don’t smoke…I could get killed on the motorway I suppose…

  24. Son of Glenner says:

    M27Holts: “… get killed on the motorway …” Can be arranged without a lot of advance planning – but a bit anti-social. Please show some consideration for other people!

  25. M27Holts says:

    I don’t intend to die on the M61. However, a top tip. Don’t enter “twin slit experiment” into google when trying to see the new evidence to support the wave/particle duality of electromagnetic waves.You just get Lesbian Lavatory Lust websites…hahaha

  26. Laripu says:

    M27, good advice. A few years ago I was doing optical simulations and had to find out about “haze penetration”. It turns out there was a porn actress whose surname was Haze. The Google image search was Not Safe For Work !!

  27. OtterBe says:

    After the fasteners holding the ring gear in my work van’s differential failed, I made the mistake ofGoogling ‘rearend sheared nuts’

    0/5: do not recommend.

  28. OtterBe says:

    Completely off-topic, but I happened to see a bumper sticker that tickled my fancy—and led to a flurry of bad poetry within the family

    Haikus confuse me
    Too often they make no sense
    Hand me the pliers

  29. jb says:

    Laripu —

    I suppose it’s possible that there may still be marginal out of the way rural “sunset towns”, but what percentage of the American population do you think actually lives in them? How much economic importance do such towns have? I’m pretty sure the answer to both questions is pretty close to zero.

    The thing is, America is over 50 years into the Civil Rights era, and things have changed drastically! We have elected a black president twice. Black culture and achievement are relentlessly celebrated. There are laws on the books that formally privilege black people over whites (affirmative action is just the tip of the iceberg!) We have a multi-billion dollar diversity industry that exists primarily to advance the interests of blacks. Brown skinned South Asian Indians have become the highest earning ethnic group in America. Racism has become so unpopular and déclassé among the people running things that white people can lose their jobs for accidentally saying the wrong thing about blacks. And yet there is this stubborn refusal to acknowledge that anything has really changed, a determination to believe that blacks are still oppressed. If black people have problems then white people must be to blame. There are simply no other possibilities! I’ve heard all the arguments, and there are refutations for every one, but I’m not going to try to write a book here. I’m just saying it’s all nonsense. Systemic racism is a myth.

  30. Donn says:

    If black people have problems then white people must be to blame.

    Ah, so there’s where it hurts. The big problem: who’s to blame?

    My used to be home town in the US, Seattle, had a problem with its police force that eventually brought the federal DOJ down on them. Interesting example, if maybe not central to the problem – our county executive for several terms was a black man, and naturally he lived in a nice neighborhood … and naturally he was repeatedly stopped by the police, while driving to and from his home. Of course not arrested or anything, just checking, because of course one wonders what a black man is up to, driving through this neighborhood.

    Who’s to blame? The police, who know very well they aren’t supposed to be racist? Black men, who disproportionately cause trouble and make everyone nervous including the police? Anyone who has an answer to that, is right – and wrong, if they think that’s going to get us anywhere – it’s the wrong question.

    Even Seattle, out there on the northwest coast, is torn with racial tension, and it isn’t going to be a great place until that’s fixed. That’s the question we need to ask: how are we going to fix it?

    The way I see it, it has its roots in economic status. A large relatively poor class, with a racially identifiable trait over-represented in its membership, is guaranteed to result in poor treatment at the mortgage interview, the apartment management office, the patrol car. No amount of education and resolve will change that. I don’t think we can single out black people and do anything special for them, successfully, but maybe we can do something about poverty.

  31. M27Holts says:

    JB. I too have been told by the right on studenty types that “my generation” were all racists. When I explained that when I was a lad, I had pictures of all the fast bowlers I admired and wanted to emulate on the field of play..and most of them were West Indian. I then got the response that I was expecting..I was just trying to cover up my natural white privileged original sin…So I gave up…

  32. Laripu says:

    jb, the number of sunset towns is non-trivial. Illinois alone has hundreds. Kentucky had many dozens. See the links below.

    People have a tendency to not see racism and think it doesn’t occur if it doesn’t happen to them. I can tell you from experience that I have been treated worse when people found out that my heritage is Jewish. And then worse than that when they found out I’m an atheist. I know that I was treated worse in Quebec, as soon as people heard me speaking French with an anglophone accent. I’ve seen open discrimination against blacks as a tourist in New Orleans. I’ve read multiple stories of police shooting first when blacks are involved… and even black police sometimes do that.

    It doesn’t matter whether the hated group is rich or poor, well dressed or in rags. Racism is a human problem and isn’t relegated to black and white. I’d believe that there’s probably black racism against whites in African countries, and even in the US.

    Racism, xenophobia, and hate are real human characteristics and we’ve evolved to have them. Probably for defense in pre-historic clans.

    Whatever the reason, it’s real. Denying it can’t fix it.

  33. jb says:

    Laripu — My question was not so much whether sunset cities still existed, but how important they are today. How many people are affected? How much influence do they have on the country as a whole. Your links (if I can even trust them not to be exaggerated, as so much social justice writing is) do not answer these questions. (However the fact that the author of one says “I had never heard of a sundown town and did not know they existed” is certainly suggestive).

    But this is typical of a pattern: disregard the vast, obvious, sweeping turn against racism in society over the last 80 years and search for anything that can — if you look at it right — be interpreted as racial injustice, then assert that whatever you find is proof that society is still riddled with racism. And because the US is a huge complicated country you can always find something. You can treat one police atrocity as an indictment the whole of white America, but when exactly the same kind of thing happens to white people it’s considered uninteresting and gets very little press. You can ignore the spectacularly high levels of crime in many black communities (and no, it isn’t poverty — many Hispanic and Asian communities are just as poor but have much less crime), then get outraged about overpolicing. You can convince yourself that unarmed blacks are being shot left and right in the streets, when in fact the annual numbers are in the low double digits, and most of the shootings are justified. In short, you can reach the conclusion you are determined to reach.

    The thing is, when people are deeply invested in a narrative they will put enormous intellectual effort into defending it. That’s what I believe is going on here. It would be too painful for liberals to say “OK, the important racism is gone; what we need now is for blacks to put their house in order”, because emotionally it would feel like they were siding with the slave owners. So instead they invent concepts like systemic racism so that they can continue to blame white people even when they can’t find any actual white racists. Again, I can’t write a book here, and I’m arguing against what is essentially a sacred doctrine of liberalism, so I’m probably not going to make much headway. But I look out the window and I just don’t see it.

  34. jb says:

    Hmm, I meant to say “the last 60 years”, not “the last 80 years”, but really, things were starting to change well before the 60s.

  35. M27Holts says:

    Aye. At work 30+ years ago some HR peeps put up a poster which boldly stated “From 8 months old to 80 years old, women and girls are raped by men”. I told them to remove it, because of it’s blatant assertion that ALL men are rapists and it was also clearly sexist as well, because some men are raped also…

  36. M27Holts says:

    Yes I have extraneous apostrophies again. Damn my grammar, should have done less maths…

  37. Donn says:

    So you’re not saying, jb, that there isn’t racism, but that it’s just not so bad in your estimation, and we only have a problem because race traitors are stirring things up?

    The problem, jb, is that the US has a problem. Pretending that it went away, is not the same as fixing it. Assigning blame to them, for their high rate of violence etc., is not the same as fixing it. That’s what you’re doing – laripu points out real present day problems in banking etc., and you apparently argue that doesn’t count because it’s better than it used to be.

    “What we need now is for blacks to put their house in order” … which is true – so for our purposes, you apparently think, we can wash our hands of this problem. But we suffer from it, and we’ll continue to suffer from it for generations untold if we take that attitude. And it’s a fantasy. We are all involved in this problem – the black community doesn’t exist in some kind of vacuum, it’s part of our society and all parts interact with and reflect each other.

    The systemic racism thing seems to be a genuine effort to move forward on it. I am not really up on it, in detail, but I think it at best has the flaw of being all too easily mischaracterized. Or at worst it isn’t a mischaracterization – that it’s kind of a conspiracy theory analysis that far overstates the institutional things we could just resolve to stop.

    In fact, there are those racist backwaters, and there is racism in banking etc., but we’re reaching kind of a diminishing returns. Indeed there is a reciprocal problem where many black people have conspicuous problems, and it’s essentially impossible for people to just resolve to not be influenced by that when dealing with individuals, i.e., to not be racist.

    But that doesn’t mean we’re done, it just means we aren’t going to get any farther with the approach we’ve been taking.

  38. jb says:

    Donn — What I’m saying is something quite radical: I’m saying that the problem is no longer white people. The problem was indeed white people for hundreds of years, but the world has changed. I’m not saying white racism no longer exists, I’m saying that it’s no longer important. I’m saying the important problems facing blacks today come from within their own community: crime in particular, but also academic underachievement, aka the “achievement gap”. (Note that the highly successful brown skinned South Asians I mentioned above have the opposite pattern: low crime and high achievement). You may counter that these problems are rooted in America’s racist past, and that may well be true, but a racist past is not the same as a racist present. All problems are rooted in the past, but you can’t use the past as an excuse forever. You can’t say “I keep on screwing up at work because mommy didn’t love me”, because even if that’s somehow true your boss has no reason to care. You are a grownup now and responsible for your own behavior, no matter how tragic your past has been.

    The problem is that liberals (and many conservatives) are totally unable to wrap their heads around the possibility that the world may have changed. When blacks have problems whites must be to blame — that’s a truth that is woven into the very fabric of reality! So an enormous amount of intellectual effort — books, academic papers, articles, opinion pieces — has been put into defending the received narrative. The thing is, it’s entirely possible (and not even rare) for smart people to devote their lives to defending ideas that are wrong. The creationist sites I linked to are an example of that, but there are plenty of others (e.g., Communism). That’s what I see as happening here. For example, I haven’t tried to address the issue of banks because that’s complicated, and complicated issues are exactly where motivated reasoning shines, where it’s easiest to extract false conclusions from valid data. I’ve seen analyses that try to explain why banks aren’t really treating anyone unfairly, why they would be leaving money on the table if they did, but it’s been a while, the arguments are no longer clear in my head, and I’m not writing a research paper here. I will say though that I spent years working in banks, and over the past decade at least the social justice fervor has been up front and seemed extremely sincere. There may be some sort of “disparate impact” dynamic going on, but idea that anyone in banking is treating blacks unfairly just because they are black just doesn’t jibe with my experience. Everything else is complicated too. For example you can have a vicious circle where high black crime rates lead to harsh overpolicing which leads to resentment and noncooperation with the police which enables further crime and so on. So who’s to blame? It’s a real mess, and if you go into it knowing the conclusion you want to reach you will succeed in reaching that conclusion.

    So I’m not saying that America doesn’t have a problem that needs to be fixed, and I’m certainly not saying that resources shouldn’t be put into helping the black community. What I’m saying is that that blaming white people doesn’t help fix the problem, and in fact is counterproductive. Truth is the first priority, however uncomfortable that truth might be. You can’t fix a problem if you are wrong about what the problem is.

  39. Donn says:

    OK, can we accept that white people are racist, and yet not blame them? I think that’s actually fairly reasonable. It’s what I think about policing and maybe it fits with what you just wrote.

    But I’m guessing you won’t go for it. White people can’t be racist, regardless of a mountain of documented racist behavior. Police for example (and yes, it’s black police too, but so what?) Even if racism is practically unavoidable under the circumstances, and even if it’s clearly documented in police forces across the country.

    Well, whatever, but that doesn’t sound like “truth” to me.

  40. jb says:

    Donn — Where did I suggest that white people can’t be racist? That’s as bad as saying blacks can’t be racist (which of course some people do say)! What I’m saying is that white people on the whole are much, much less racist today than they were 100 years ago, and as a result white racism has receded from being the primary problem blacks faced to being at worst a minor problem, far less damaging than the problems of crime and underachievement. Fix those problems and any others will for the most part go away on their own.

    And where does the “blame” for those problems lie? By which I mean whose behavior is creating these problems, and whose responsibility is it to fix them? Whites can certainly try to help, and there is certainly a place for government, but when young black men are shooting each other right and left in the inner cities it seems really perverse and unhelpful to insist that white racism is responsible. But this is precisely what the doctrine of systemic racism does! It insists that no matter how badly black people behave, they are never responsible for their own problems, invisible white racism is always to blame, and the responsibility for change always lies with white people. That’s what I am arguing against. You may think I am caricaturing the idea of systemic racism, and maybe I am a little, but no more than a little. Some ideas are just bad, and I think systemic racism is one of them.

  41. Donn says:

    I’m not attached to “systemic racism.” Unfortunately, it’s hard to talk about complicated things from the sort of common basis of a theory like that, because everyone wants to say their piece but relatively few people are motivated or even capable of accurately learning the material. Whatever. As long as we aren’t saying racism in the US has been reduced to inconsequential levels, as long as there’s a clear understanding that US society has a serious problem that it needs to deal with. Does systemic racism prescribe a solution? If not, who cares about it.

  42. M27Holts says:

    It’s Donald Trumps Fault…and he is White!

  43. two cents' worth says:

    Maybe I misunderstand the terms “white racism” and “systemic racism.” To me (in the USA), “white racism” refers to the racist beliefs held by white individuals and the acts they commit due to those beliefs; “systemic racism” refers to the racist treatment of people involved in systems, due to things such as the policies followed in those systems and the training provided to the people working in those systems.

    In the USA, white racism was in decline for a while, when people (especially those in power) enforced the social norms against it, but it has been on the rise since people in positions of authority (such as former president Trump) started repeatedly breaking those norms. The 2017 Charlottesville car attack ( ) is just one famous example of white racism.

    An example of systemic racism would be a police officer (of any race) treating a black person stopped for a traffic violation more harshly than a white person stopped for the same violation. (In the USA, there are many recorded instances of people being stopped for DWB, or Driving While Black–for example, being a black person who is driving an expensive car but committing no traffic violations. The worst incidents end in the officer shooting and killing the black driver or a black passenger.) Another example of systemic racism would be a doctor (of any race) prescribing less pain medication to a black patient after a certain surgical procedure than to a similar white patient after the same procedure. A third example would be an institution that consistently pays black people with a given level of responsibilities, credentials, and performance less than white people with the same responsibilities, credentials, and performance.

    A reduction in white racism does not necessarily lead to a reduction in systemic racism. A manager of one race, a subordinate of the same race, and a subordinate of another race may all work happily together, while the Human Resources department sets different salaries for the subordinates, despite the fact that they have the same responsibilities, credentials, length of service, and level of performance. In the US, salary data is considered private, so the subordinates usually do not know about the disparity. If the manager asks to have the lower salary raised to rectify the disparity, HR and/or the finance department can veto the request.

    Orchestras have addressed systemic racism (and sexism, etc.) by using blind auditions when determining which musicians they hire. The solutions to racism in other kinds of systems are less obvious. I think we in the USA are still in the early stages of understanding systemic racism and are struggling to find ways to address it in various systems.

    Yes, the black community needs to work on (and is working on) addressing problems such as black-on-black violence, but that alone will not resolve the important issues facing blacks in America today. We must also address white racism and systemic racism.

    As the Author points out, racism ought to be addressed in both Western and non-Western countries, but I’m not sure what Western countries should do to help eliminate racism in non-Western countries. Different Western countries should probably take different approaches to this. For example, I suspect that non-Western countries would be more receptive to advice if it comes from Canada rather than the USA. Western countries might find it helpful to consult organizations such as Interpeace ( ) on the best ways to help eliminate racism in non-Western countries (and, perhaps, in their own countries as well).


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