Thursday, July 02, 2009

A friend forwarded me this article by Jesse Jackson in the Chicago Sun-Times. I am mystified and absolutely astounded that this man can honestly continue to serve as a spokesman for anyone.

Short review: This laughing-stock of a human being is honestly saying that discrimination against white males should be okay. That is literally what he is saying at the end of the piece. My assessment is, therefore, that he is truly a useless piece of human excrement!

Longer review: Jackson seems as bound by his tunnel-vision of U.S and human history as ever. He seems to think that blacks are the only group of people in this country to ever face any systemic form of discrimination (false). Worse than that ignorance of U.S. history, he comes to what can be described as specious-at-best conclusions regarding the rectifying of past wrongs against an entire race of people. He apparently hasn't subscribed to his President's vision of a post-racial America.

He summarily dismisses without any reasonable argument Justice O'Connor's assessment of the 14th amendment's applicability to a "group." His are the bygone and mistaken arguments for a system that only serves to perpetuate the judging of people by the color of their skin and not the content of their character...that white males could use a little system-imposed setback here or there. As if that is going to serve to heal the racial divide in America!

I pray that folks in the black community have already begun dismissing his loony rants and ravings as coming from someone who clearly benefits from race-baiting and hate-mongering. Jesse Jackson operates solely to increase his own power base, which is influence/control over others of his race. I pray they have already begun to reject that irrational and mind-numbing control.


  1. Hi, B.B.

    I hope it’s O.K. with you for me to repeat here some comments that I posted in May at an entry in a blog at the website of a major American newspaper. Here’s the first:

    I don’t know much about Judge Sotomayor and might indeed be pleased to have her on the Supreme Court. I also don’t know much about the context of her quote.

    “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

    But, when the quote is what we’re dealing with, this is how I feel:

    It’s such a loaded statement.

    We have a human being (“woman”)—against a non-human animal (“male”).

    “Latina” harkens back to ancient Rome and sounds pretty and gets a capital “L”—while “white” is a boring color, in lowercase.

    One is “wise” and has “richness” and “experience”—and the incessantly counterstereotyped “white male” “hasn’t lived”.

    Gag me.

    That she would think in ways that lead to that juxtaposition of terms coming out of her mouth—in a prepared speech, apparently—is ... sad.

    The second:

    Maybe, every time someone reduces someone else (or sometimes himself) to a “white male”—a color and a sex—, Judge Sotomayor should be called just a “brown female”. Then we would at least be consistent in sounding as if we were discussing nondescript non-human animals instead of the complex persons whose judgement we have to live and work with.

    The third, beginning with another quote from the same speech by Judge Sotomayor:

    “The Judicature Journal has at least two excellent studies on how women on the courts of appeal and state supreme courts have tended to vote more often than their male counterpart to uphold women’s claims in sex discrimination cases and criminal defendants’ claims in search and seizure cases. As recognized by legal scholars, whatever the reason, not one woman or person of color in any one position but as a group we will have an effect on the development of the law and on judging.”

    So there we have it again. On the one hand, there are human beings (“women”, “women’s”, “woman”, “person”) and the colorful (“of color”—as opposed to the drab)—and, on the other, there is simply the “male counterpart”.

    She said she hoped (believed?) that the results of women’s thinking would be better than the results of men’s—and this statement seems to have been surrounded by clues about her belief in the relative humanity, wisdom, experiencedness, aliveness, and colorfulness of the two sexes and racial/cultural backgrounds.

    Just as I’ll trust the accuracy of the quote above provided by one commenter, I’ll also trust that of the Sandra Day O’Connor quote, from another commenter: “a wise old woman and a wise old man would reach the same result”. Whether the predicate of her sentence was right or wrong, Justice O’Connor kept everything in the subject the same, except to turn “woman” to “man”. Compare this to Judge Sotomayor’s view of the world as evidenced by the vocabulary in her statements.

    I voted for Barack Obama, and I expect to like most of the decisions he’ll make in his presidency; but I’m starting to wonder about this one.

    And the fourth:

    Don Duval, in comment 86, points out that Judge Sotomayor said that she HOPED that the (non-white?) Hispanic woman would reach a better conclusion than the white (non-Hispanic?) “male” would—that this was a HOPE, not a BELIEF.

    But, to me, this doesn’t make her much more sensible than she would be if she really did believe it.

    Whether one BELIEVES women are superior to men (and/or that (non-white?) Hispanics are superior to (non-Hispanic?) whites), or whether one just HOPES that they are, it doesn’t make one any less ridiculous than is someone who believes or hopes that men are better than woman and/or that (non-Hispanic?) whites are better than (non-white?) Hispanics.

    (I continue in another comment.)

  2. (I continue from my previous, long comment.)

    (On finally giving a thorough skim to the whole speech, I was no longer so sure she really was espousing ideas so offensive to my sensibilities; but I still have serious concerns about her choice of words in the parts quoted above.)

    I like to stick with a few long-lived terms for different sexes, races, and cultural backgrounds, each of which I consider non-offensive, and not to let others’ fashions cause me to adopt their slanted terminology.

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  4. Well, I read Mr. Jackson’s piece, though I got skimmy near the end.

    My take:

    Your disparaging him personally doesn’t help—you, or him, or us.

    He doesn’t seem to me to be unaware that black Americans aren’t the only Americans to suffer discrimination.

    But, as he has been for several years now, he’s being rather silly.

    He fails to mention that the New Haven test scores came 60% from a written exam and 40% from an oral one, and that the rotating trios of judges for the oral exams always included one white person, one black person, and one Hispanic person (of what race?).

    He’d do better to rant about a culture (made of people of many races and cultural backgrounds) that leads black and Hispanic people to perform worse on the test than others perform.

    Though I haven’t finished reading the ruling opinion and dissent, it seems to me that the key legal question in the case was not whether the test was fair or whether discarding its results was fair, but whether the city would’ve had a reasonable expectation of a Title VII suit if it had certified the results. (And, though I wanted the court to side with the firefighters whose good test scores were discarded, it seems to me that there certainly was a reasonable expectation of such a suit.)

    Anyway, all the residents of New Haven, who, as the Rev. Jackson points out, are nearly 60% black, deserve to have the highest-scoring officers watching over them, regardless of those officers’ races.

  5. Adam,

    All good points. Interesting and thorough analysis of Sotomayor's speech, especially from that linguistic angle. Thanks for sharing that.

    On the Jackson piece, I understand the remark about my insult of Jackson being constructive to the debate. I usually don't react to things like that...I think I have just gotten so fed up with him, with his influence over anything in this great country of ours. There is a lot of baggage that comes with an article by him, and usually I do a better job of separating that from the substance.

    If he isn't unaware of the non-uniqueness of blacks' suffering of discrimination, then his words certainly indicate that he discounts anyone else's suffering or he simply doesn't care about it. It's not "worth" as much as blacks' suffering. To me, that comes through as subtext to his arguments. Where this recognition undermines much of his rationale for what he says is that if past inflictions are truly worthy of rectification, then he needs to get in line, because a vast majority of people have ancestors who experienced some form of discrimination in this country...and that's before instituting policies that systemically discriminate against the white male majority. Using his logic, then a system of randomly decided discriminations is justified in practically every decision in society in order to rectify past wrongs. His logic is clearly wrong-headed.

    I understand your analysis of the decision. I think, though, that the logic of an argument that says it would've been okay to deny the promotions if the fear of Civil Rights Act-based lawsuits were more reasonable. From what I've read of the dissent, Ginsburg did question (without evidentiary basis) the fairness of the test, but she used the racial makeup of the results as evidence in and of itself of a biased test. She also said that the fairness of the test should be further called into question when viewing the historical demographic makeup of the city's FD leadership. This "logic" is beyond my comprehension. Rather than actually look at the evidence of the test itself or the past performance of the third-part test deisgner, she tries to use historical demographic data that have nothing to do with this particular test or even class of candidates to assert the unfairness of any test that ends up with such a result.

    Anyhow, your last point is what so many folks like Jackson fail to grasp about the discriminatory rationale that Ginsburg and Sotomayor expect to prevail in cases like New Haven's. Such a mentality will likely result in the degradation of standards and lower performance overall, in whatever system it's being applied to. For something as serious as firefighting, the danger is that much more apparent.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Take care, and Happy 4th to you.


  6. (I’d like to be just “m” here.)

    It’s curious to me how pervasive “white male” has become: in that blog entry’s comments, those vehemently defending Judge Sotomayor’s statement, and those vehemently opposing it, almost invariably used it.

    Not that it’s a big deal, but I think Mr. Jackson should be allowed to concentrate on one group of persons when he wants (even if he makes a caricature of himself by doing it).

    Before I saw your reply, I was thinking more about the New Haven case (haven’t read any more of the opinion than last time). It seems to me that the justices on both sides ‘sneakily’ avoided the real issue—the 14th Amendment—by sticking to the idea that it hinges on whether there could’ve been a reasonable expectation of a lawsuit under Title VII. They said, in essence, that the plaintiffs had a case under Title VII and therefore the Court had no need to weigh the 14th Amendment’s involvement.

    But that’s what’s really at stake here: the 14th Amendment. Of course, if they went to that question, there’d be only one really logical way to decide it, and that would mean striking down a whole bunch of stuff, which just isn’t popular enough for the (not really independent) justices to do yet.

    Anyway, the 14th Amendment sure strikes me as a better way of deciding such things. Anyone, of any race, can go to court claiming that his 14th Amendment rights have been violated (after all, the plaintiffs got all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court with that as part of their claim)—and then that question can be decided. It may be more laborious than just going along with the rule of “Could So-and-So have reasonably expected to be sued?”, but it’s a hell of a lot fairer: otherwise, everybody could defend himself against every claim in court by simply saying “Well, I was afraid that, if I did the other thing, then I’d get sued for that”. Being stuck with the choice of which side to be sued by is no excuse for doing something wrong or unconstitutional.



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