The Gates Arrest: what does it say about race?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Obi-Ewan, Jul 23, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    I'm not sure how you can fault my interpretation, when your response to being called on it was, "OMG you guys are the reason we can't have a discussion on racism. How can we discuss racism when people are identifying racism where they see it? I was JOKING! But here's why it's actually a pretty accurate generalization..."

    Was that racial generalization meant to be ironic, too? Can you begin to see where I'm having trouble telling the difference?
  2. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    I think Mr.44 answered about why we can't have an open discussion when you insist on picking apart every sentence to deterimine whether it was racist or not.

    Re: the highlighted quote, you are seeing a racial generalization where there isn't one. Notice that I started with IF there is anything this specific instance has anything to teach us about racial relations, then the only thing to be learned and intrepreted from the events is the black person's behavior becoming a standard of most black people. I'm not the one who said this moment had anything to teach us, but if it did, then the only thing to be learned was about the actions of the black party, not the white cop. How any moment can be "teachable" I'm not really sure because it is impossible to tell if it is an outlier or not without detailed statistical analysis.

    See we just can't have a debate if you can make generalizations from all cops based on the actions of a few, but I can't make generalizations about all blacks based on the actions of a few. You get to cry all day long about how virutally all cops are this or that, but the moment I apply the situation at hand to most African Americans in this country, I'm a racist, debate over. At that point nothing I can say matters because once you throw that out there, there is absolutely nothing I can respond to it with except agreeing with you. I hardly see how every cop in the country is so much more cohesive of a group than the African-American community. I'm no more racist than many of you are copist.
  3. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Then here's an idea. How about not saying offensive things?

    Don't go hiding behind Mr44. Own up to your own actions.
  4. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    You mean offensive things like calling me a racist and knee bender to authoritarianism? Oh, you mean only what offends YOU.


    How is this racial generalization any less racist than mine? Oh right, racist is only when white people do it.
  5. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    Oh I'm sorry did I forget to cite my source?

    So, my reading of your post is that what I quoted you as saying was racist, which makes me racist.

    I'm not familiar with the smilies here anymore, is there a :mind boggled: smilie?

    Seriously? Are you drunk?
  6. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Espaldapalabras: Well, he's got you there. You're complaining of racism when it was you who originally made the quote. I don't think that makes him a racist. o_O
  7. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Sorry, I don't think you're racist nor a knee bender to authoritarianism. However, I have stated, and will continue to state, that what you've said is beyond offensive and racially charged. You're comments were racist. Now, you have two options. Continue to ignore what you did and not answer my question, or admit that what you said was racist and offensive and answer my question about what an "open and honest discussion" about race entails.

    When you say something offensive, you don't get to then say that people who are calling you out on it are offending you.


    For one thing, I don't know farraday's race, and frankly, the race doesn't matter. Also, farraday was quoting you, do I don't see how that makes him a racist.

    So, if you could just please answer my question, I'd be happy.

    Now, that being said, I'd like to say my idea of what an "open and honest discussion" about race is. Race, from what I've studied in the little anthropology I've taken, is a combination of phenotypes, guided by geography and culture. So, since people of the same race have nothing in common other than phenotypes, an "open and honest discussion" involves discussion how to minimize societal practices generalizing race and any statements that promote that race is anything more than similar phenotypes.
  8. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    I'm not drunk, I'm just distracted posting because I'm too busy with work.

    I did post that at least over a week ago and didn't immidiately recognize the quote.

    If that's not what you are doing, please elaborate. And if you can, don't call me a liar.
  9. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    So your argument is that you thought it was racist because you didn't know you'd posted it?

    Also, and not that it does matter as Vivec so helpfully posted, but I am white.

    Your assumption there really only demonstrates a rather hefty set of blinders when it comes to race.

    Going way back, but in Amphitheater when Zaz was doing his movies to see before you die, he (or someone) described D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation by saying it showed how racist you could be without realizing you were racist. You may be suffering from a similar problem.
  10. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2005
    star 5
    Race, from what I've studied in the little anthropology I've taken, is a combination of phenotypes, guided by geography and culture. So, since people of the same race have nothing in common other than phenotypes, an "open and honest discussion" involves discussion how to minimize societal practices generalizing race and any statements that promote that race is anything more than similar phenotypes.

    How about admitting that in our current society, many of those with a certain phenotype have a vested interest in not minimizing all social practices generalizing race because they gain a clear benefit from exploiting the historic mistreat of their phenotype and can use that history to leverage special benefits and treatment from the majority in perpetuity?

    An open and honest discussion is one that recognizes that while there may not be any innate differences between two phenotypes, there are very clear cultural differences between different phenotypes in our current society just as there are within different religious or geographic groups. How else can you explain the existence of BET?

    An open and honest discussion is one in which ?racist? isn?t something thrown against your opponent because you are arguing in good faith that everyone wants the eventual goal of minimizing social practices that generalize race, but that for some the only way to do so is confront the reality that in our current society there are cultural differences between races. While like any generalization about any group it will not apply in all cases or circumstances and there always exceptions, any generalizations I have made have been towards the culture developed by a group of similar phenotype people, and their behavior is in no way shape or form guided by their genes. But until you can recognize that I come to this debate in good faith and quit taking pot shots, no we can?t have a real discussion on the topic.

    Edit: Farraday: It wasn't racist when I said it, because obviously you wouldn't teach a black person about how cops persecute against them. It was a generalization yes, and it would only be racist if you considered all generalizations racist. So if you said it, by your own terms it would then be racist according to your standard. By my terms it isn't.
  11. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    What a few individuals do in regards to this is irrelevant to this discussion, which after all, is about race relations, no?

    Thank you for finally answering this question. Now that I have an idea of what you think an open and honest discussion entails, I'll be able to address it.

    First off, any cultural similarities between people of the same sets of phenotypes are coincidental at best, coming from the fact that they were raised in a particular way and irrelevant to their skin color. Therefore, yes there are cultural differences between people of separate races, but that is also as much coincidence as those cultural similarities within a race. There are people with different sets of phenotypes who share similar culture. Remember, these "cultural similarities and differences" come from what environment one was raised in. It is irrelevant to race.

    Secondly. The term "racist" (as an adjective to a comment, not to an individual) gets thrown if an offensive racially charged comment is made. I cannot call you a racist because I don't know you. I can only state what you said is racist, and I have stated that. You do not get to enter "the race discussion" and then, under pretext of "good faith," make racially charged offensive comments and then cry victim once people call you on it.

    Thirdly, I don't know whether you came in good faith or nor, so I'm not going to comment on that. Like I said, I do not know you personally. I'm not going to naively assume that everyone here is on good faith either. This is the internet, after all. So whether or not you are here in good faith is irrelevant to me. Instead, I am going to go off of what is said in the thread, and only that.

    So with that in mind, I don't intend on labeling you a racist, I do intend on calling you out on your comments, and I would like to call out JediSmuggler for agreeing with your racially charged statement (though he seems to have vanished from the thread, making my addressing of him useless). I'm not holding back this discussion by taking pot shots. People who make offensive racially charged comments are.
  12. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    How hypocritical. Have you shown ANY 'good faith' and stopped to consider that those of us pointing out your generalizations are doing so to add clarity to the discussion? No, you've jumped right to the conclusion that we're simply taking cowardly pot-shots to derail the discussion and label you a bigot.

    You accuse us of not arguing in good faith, while refusing to do so yourself.
  13. RobinHood Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2004
    star 1
    Though I'm not about to defend the tone of Espaldapalabras's comments, I think a number of you are choosing to ignore some of the points he is trying to make. The discussion of phenotypes and cultural values is absolutely on target, but a lot of what is being put forth here belies the complexity of the issue. Specifically, some of you seem to be avoiding the discussion of how this plays out in the real world. Here is what it all boils down to for me:

    - The major factor to look at in terms of groups of people who are most likely to commit crimes is financial class and the poverty line. The fact that there are a disproportionate number of African-Americans in jail has nothing to do with race and everything to do with social class.

    - That being said, due to gross historical mistreatment, there are a disproportionate number of African-Americans who are below the poverty line. This is a result of historical wrongs, not genetics or culture or anything else. In an attempt to correct these wrongs, the government and other powerful groups have enacted special benefits to racial minorities.

    - Due to the human characteristic of self-interest - a biological motivator that all races share - a number of individuals will choose to act in a way that enhances racial divides in order to continue to receive these special benefits. If the government did not have legislation on the books that generalizes people based on racial class, this kind of behavior would not be possible.

    - There is an apparent double-standard that operates when the term "racist" is used in modern American society. The Gates case is an outstanding example. People were quick to label Officer Crowley a racist for arresting a black man who wasn't violating the law. However, many of these same people would scoff at the idea that Mr. Gates would technically be a racist if he were to unfairly attribute a racial motivation to Crowley's actions just because he is white. The term racist describes anyone who acts in a racially motivated manner, regardless of whether they are black or white. However, this is not typically how it is used in reality.


    Please bear in mind that I am not generalizing the above behaviors on an entire racial group. However, because the government and other groups are still racially generalizing, and because race is still such a hot topic in America, it is *possible* for individuals to behave in a way that highlights racial differences in order to receive special benefits or consideration.

    I think black Americans are still owed something. The historical wrong of slavery has not been fully corrected - the statistics on social class speak for themselves. However, the Gates situation, as well as the tone of the discussion on this forum, suggest to me that the current track that the government and society at large are taking is only making race relations worse. There has to be a better solution, something that people of all races could agree on.
  14. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I think black Americans are still owed something. The historical wrong of slavery has not been fully corrected...

    Except I think you answered your own question within your post even as you asked it..

    I think a big step can be made here by, as you said, focusing on economic concerns in a racially neutral way. If there is a disparity that exists, then adopting a universal focus will also have the result of correcting the disparity. The problem with your statement of "black Americans are still owed something..." is that it doesn't include a metric that measures what that "something" is.

    I've used this example before, but adopting a racially blind, neutral standard is how the US military transformed itself from near total segregation in the 1950's, into an institution where race doesn't matter. Adopting universal requirements, and then helping the individual meet/exceed the same standards, regardless of race, sex, religious belief, etc... is also why the military has had an easier time at such transformation than the civilian world.
  15. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    That is classic. [face_laugh] I'm not that is what he did but that surely made me smile.
  16. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    Otherwise, I agree with your points [face_coffee]
  17. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Except Merk, if you're referring to the Milwaukee, WI study on sentencing disparity, a huge factor that impacted sentencing terms there was recidivism rate, regardless of race.

    Wisconsin is a state that follows sentencing guidelines similar to CA's "three strikes and you're out law." That is to say that sentencing lengths increase along with the number of convictions. The Milwaukee study also found that black convictees who were in the WI Department of Correction's system had higher repeat crime rates, which resulted in, IIRC in WI, an average sentence length that was 6 years greater.

    To get a true racially blind study, you would have to compare black first term arrestees to another group's first term arrestees. Otherwise, higher rates on their own don't indicate racial bias in sentencing.

    So, you have a valid point by illustrating that unemployed black defendants probably do get sentenced to longer terms, but you have to also look at how many prior convictions each defendant has. Because I'd bet that unemployed individuals in any subgrouping have higher crime rates, no matter if they're white, black, or whatever... This comes back to addressing economic issues at the source.
  18. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    Slavery was abolished over 100 years before I was born. The Civil Right Act was passed in 1964 - 11 years before I was born.

    I'm sorry, but what part of "I didn't do it" do you not understand?
  19. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    I believe the second set of quotes included the term "comparably situated" [face_whistling]
  20. Brett_Bass Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 4
    As a total nonsequitur to lighten the mood, I posit that "comparably situated" should be interpreted as meaning sitting in similarly-placed chairs of equivilent comfort.
  21. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Hey, I was actually going to post a similar joke, but I don't think Merk's comment was meant to be serious either...

    Realistically, we all know that academics use the phrase "similarly situated" when the situations aren't, in fact, the same:

    "Hey, we couldn't duplicate the results of cold fusion exactly, but our results are "similarly situated" to the original experiment."

    For this specific discussion, we would still need to know what was used as a control. Two people can be arrested for a crime- let's say armed robbery- and be counted as "similarly situated." However, each of these people's prior record only comes into play during sentencing, and even similar situations can result in different lengths based on nothing but sentencing guidelines and without bias from the court.

    Because that's the key. Judges are still subject to sentencing guidelines based on the 8th Amendment. In essence, there has to be cause shown why a sentence seriously deviates from the norm.

    If judges in Wisconsin (the focus of the above study) were actually sentencing people to longer terms based on nothing but the color of their skin, then the state would have a civil rights violation suit slapped on it faster than it takes to read this post. Now, that's not to say that black defendants aren't being sentenced to longer terms, but the reasons for that mostly likely originated before these defendants were arrested and sentenced.
  22. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9

    Owed what?
  23. Brett_Bass Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 4
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.