The Tea Party Movement and the "Race Card"

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Jabbadabbado, May 12, 2010.

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  1. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    The act itself cannot be racist without the racist intent behind it. That is the defining characteristic for a racist act.

    If person A calls person B stupid because the person is showing a severe lack of intelligence, it is the same act as if person A calls person B stupid because they are a different race, and therefore "inferior". The same act, with different intents, makes the latter racist while the former is not. No act is inherently racist unless it has a racist intent behind it.

    It's no different when the insult changes to "boy", or anything else. Without the racist intent, it is only an insult and not a racist insult.

    Kimball Kinnison
  2. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    I dunno...I think the people with burning crosses on their front lawn would beg to differ.
  3. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I disagree pretty sharply with your construction above, but we'll leave that alone for now, as it doesn't really help to bring up yet another facet of this issue. I am saying that the act--and its intent--would clearly be racist, regardless of whether someone subscribes to the inferiority of other races as a general philosophical point or not. You'll note that I never used the word intent, but talked about what was in his "heart of hearts." I was separating the particular act from his global beliefs and motivations as a person, not commenting on the motivations of this particular act.

    With that clarified, I'm interested to hear what else you had to say about the actual substance of the post.
  4. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    When it comes to cross burning, the same principle about intent holds. It's the same basic principle outlined in Virginia v. Black (2003), which held that Virginia's law against cross burning was unconstitutional because it placed the burden of proof on the defendant to prove that it was not intended as intimidation. I highly recommend reading the Court's opinion.

    In the case of Anthony Miller, you are treating the use of the word "boy" as prima facie evidence that it was racist, just like the Virginia law treated the act of cross burning as having the intent to intimidate by definition.

    Today, the accusation of racism is one of the most serious accusations you can level at a person, second only perhaps to child molesting. It is invidious particularly because the accusation itself is treated as proof of its validity. Once the accusation is leveled, it is almost impossible for the accused to defend themselves from it.

    Kimball Kinnison
  5. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Too bad, but I guess it needs to be repeated.... "There's Anthony. Get a rope."
  6. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Why, was he eating salsa from New York City?

    Kimball Kinnison
  7. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Oh, you think it's funny.
    [face_plain]

    Oh well. It's your country.
  8. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    What are you referring to, then? There's no mention of the phrase "get a rope" in the the link you gave.

    Pace Picante Sauce has used variations of "get a rope" in commercials since the 1980s, and it's usage in modern conversation reflects that. It is often used as a phrase to highlight someone who appears to be something that they're not. (It was meant to contrast Pace with Old El Paso salsa, which despite its name and marketing was made in New York, not Texas.)

    It's a very common cultural reference among people my age and younger, whose main exposure to the phrase "get a rope" is more from pop culture than historical lynchings.

    Kimball Kinnison
  9. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Kimball, I'd be careful about reading too much into the Supreme Court opinion. No one in the opinion ever suggests that anyone has ever burned a cross for any reason other than racial intimidation, just that a prima facie ruling on intent is unconstitutional on the off chance that someday someone may want to use cross burning to express something else. The ruling doesn't at all imply that we need to give cross burners the benefit of the doubt until we get clarification on their intent. The only issue there is prior restraint.
  10. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    KK, it's in the video.

    So, we've got:
    - Death threat
    - "Mc Cain's boy"
    - "Get a rope"

    This gets out the same week a congressperson gets shot, I'd be thinking my country is going down the drain; you laugh it off and refer to commercials. I guess we all deal with bad news differently.
  11. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    That would explain it, then. I've got flash blocked on my computers (due to a combination of security and performance issues with the Linux version of Flash), and I can't access flash video here at work.

    My apologies.

    Doing a little more Google searching, there is also this LA Times article that mentions the "get a rope" comment. However, it also outright states Miller's view of the situation:
    The rancor had no racial overtones but it "just got awful," Miller said.
    If the target of alleged racial remarks says that there were no racial overtones, then why does everyone else see the need to insist that there were? I would expect that Miller would have a better grasp of the full context than any of us would.

    If the African American who was targeted by alleged racist remarks claims that there were no racial overtones, then I would say that requires a much higher burden of proof for those who argue that there were racial overtones. You need more than just your own perception or interpretation of the events to prove that.

    Actually, if you go back to the facts of the ruling (given in my second link), you would see that one of the cross burnings there was on private land with permission of the land owner as part of a Klan meeting. That suggests that the cross burning there wasn't about racial intimidation, but rather simply part of their meeting. Otherwise, who was the target of the alleged intimidation?

    Just because it happened to be visible from the road doesn't mean that it was intended to intimidate.

    Kimball Kinnison
  12. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The ruling has not the slightest thing to do with explaining away the behavior of the KKK or suggesting that it would be in any way rational to interpret their intent in the most charitable light. It's all about whether we can legally restrain expression that can conceivably in some bizarre and unlikely exception to its standard meaning be undertaken for a reason other than racial intimidation. In this case, perhaps it was merely a team building exercise to remind the membership of the KKK's rich history of racial intimidation and to fire up the faithful for future acts of racial intimidation. So what?
  13. AaylaSecurOWNED Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 6
    ...

    ...

    Are you seriously arguing that there is anything about a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan that is not about racial intimidation? Much less a publicly visible cross burning?
  14. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    I'm no expert, but it seems like for many modern Klan groups cross-burning is a ritual they do for their own benefit and gratification, rather than targeting at outsiders. But it's difficult to say, because it's not one organization anymore.
  15. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    They are a private organization, and still have First Amendment rights to free speech and peaceably assemble. They deserve just as much protection as anyone else does. The presumption that because their meeting was publicly visible (even though on private land) it must have been for the purpose of racial intimidation is an outright violation of those rights.

    As Voltaire once said, "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

    Kimball Kinnison

    EDIT: And before anyone can accuse me of defending the KKK, I'm not. I am defending basic civil liberties.

    Protections for free speech are meaningless if we can just ignore them when it comes to unpopular speech. The freedom to peaceably assemble loses all meaning if the government can decree that a specific group, by its very existence, cannot exercise that right. I don't care whether that group is the KKK, Neo-Nazis, pornographers, atheists, religious people, gays, straights, or whatever other group may or may not be unpopular. Until they pose a direct physical danger to someone else, their rights to free speech and free assembly need to be protected.
  16. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I think this thread should be renamed "Racism doesn't really exist... it's all in your mind".

    Yeah, tell me about it. Flash compatibility sucks.

    Well, he's the one who got a death threat, I'm sure he weighs his words more carefully than any of us in here do. But even if none of this was intended racist, and Mr. racial profiling Hayworth turns out to be ah, not a racist, does that make any of this any better to stomach? That's what amazes me, is that you seem to wave the whole thing away just because you don't think it's racist. It's still very scary, and I'd think twice before voting for a party that's that messed up.

  17. AaylaSecurOWNED Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 6
    Whoa, whoa. I didn't say anything about punishing them for their horrific and disgusting actions. I said that those actions were racially motivated. I agree with you that they have a right to burn a cross on their own land for their own twisted reasons, and I'd defend that right unequivocally. That doesn't mean it isn't racist.

    You're moving the goalposts, KK. No one is arguing that anyone should get imprisoned or fined for racist speech, we're only arguing over whether the speech is racist at all.
  18. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    The problem I have with most of this discussion is that the entire focus on labeling some of the insults as racist damages the impact that the charge of racism itself carries.

    Think of it for a moment. Out of a fairly good sized litany of insults and threats directed towards Anthony Miller, the part that several people here decided to initially complain about was the rather innocuous (by comparison) "McCain's boy".

    Instead of focusing on how one group of people was acting completely inappropriately for political discourse, it got turned into an attempt throw more accusations at them with minimal proof. It's wrong to claim that Anthony Miller got death threats because he is black when there's no proof of that. What there is proof of is that Anthony Miller was harassed and threatened because of to whom he chose to devote his political support.

    Instead of focusing on the more serious problem, some people decided to focus on one insult out of many that could be interpreted as racist. That insult, like all the others, could just as easily been opposed based on how politically inappropriate it was. There was no need to drag the topic of race into it at all.

    I'm not defending the people who were attacking Miller. What I am doing is opposing the tendency for some people to immediately throw out the charge of racism when it's completely unnecessary. There is enough in their behavior to criticize without trying to force the charge of racism in there, too.

    Kimball Kinnison
  19. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Actually, you claimed that it was racial intimidation, not merely racist. Your exact words were:
    Intimidation would require that it was directed towards someone outside their group. By virtue of the fact that it was on private property, and it was a distance from the road (about 1/4 mile), there's nothing there to suggest that it was intended to intimidate anyone. In fact, the core issue that led the Court to overturn the conviction was the presumption of the intent to intimidate (the same presumption that you are making here).

    It seems to me that you are the one shifting the goalposts here (from racial intimidation to just being racist).

    Kimball Kinnison
  20. AaylaSecurOWNED Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 6
    Actually, depending on the demographic in the county, the visibility from the road, and the amount of traffic that generally drives by at that time of day, I could easily see it being racial intimidation. If it was private property that happened to be on the road to a black church, for example, if there was no vegetation or other obstruction of the view between the road and the cross, and they did it at noon on a Sunday when services usually let out, that could easily be considered for the purposes of racial intimidation.

    Either way, though, it's clearly racist, so the question of whether or not it should be allowed is moot.
  21. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The presumption that because their meeting was publicly visible (even though on private land) it must have been for the purpose of racial intimidation is an outright violation of those rights.

    A presumption of racism does not violate anyone's rights. The KKK's mission statement historically was more or less all about racial intimidation, so to presume any symbolic act they undertake has a racial intimidation component is pure common sense.

    If someone gets fired because they make a comment on air that, regardless of intent, is grossly insensitive to issues of race or ethnicity (recall Juan Williams getting canned from NPR) that is in no way a violation of their rights.
  22. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Then you failed to convey that problem until now.
    No. Merk posted a link to the article and highlighted the 'boy' part. Next post was yours, and off you went. Everything since followed from that, and not once did you condemn what happened; you started talking about svastikas instead, twice. Complaints weren't directed at the use of the word 'boy', they were directed at your defense of it being perhaps-not-racist.
    By whom? You certainly didn't focus on how one group of people (Tea Party people) was acting "completely inappropriately". Until now, all you have done is taken up their defense.
    But you have been, up til now.
    Initially, only Merk and you.
    Well, I'm glad you say that now but it's a bit late.
  23. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Watto,

    The part that you are missing is that the specific topic of this thread relates to the Tea Party and claims of racism. My response to Jedi_Merkurian was focused on that topic, as everything else would pretty much be off topic. I took exception to how he immediately made the leap to accusing people of basing the comments in racism, rather than simply politics.

    Even than, I never expressed approval in any way for the actions of the people who attacked or insulted Miller. I repeated described them as insults, epithets, and so forth. However, I maintained my comments on what is supposed to be the focus of this thread (the Tea Party and racism).

    This is another example of taking some minor incidents (a handful of insults out of the entire body of insults thrown at Miller) and blowing them out of proportion to the rest of the situation in order to perpetuate the accusations of racism against the Tea Party movement as a whole.

    Kimball Kinnison
  24. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Of course. Being dealt the race card is much worse than communicating death threats, right?

    Tell ya what, you just keep defending the angry hillbillies and pretending not to. I shouldn't really care. I have my own local xenophobe party to deal with.
  25. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    It's not about what is worse, but what is the topic of this thread. This thread is supposed to be about the Tea Party and racism. That was the topic I was discussing. Now, you're trying to shift the goal posts because you don't like the responses I gave on that topic, and the evidence (including Miller's own comments) support my claim that racism wasn't really involved in his resignation.

    This thread is not about "what complaints can we make about the Tea Party". It's about a specific complaint about the Tea Party, namely racism. As far as racism and the Tea Party goes, the Anthony Miller resignation has almost nothing to do with it, which is what I was saying from the beginning. It is at best a tangential element in this case.

    Kimball Kinnison
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