Pharyngula

An easy quiz

Comments

  1. #1 mathpants
    April 27, 2006

    damn, Snow seems to be channelling David “class warfare just isn’t vibrant!” Brooks with this line of patter.

    also, babbling butthead . . . babbling brook . . . babbling David Brooks . . . this stuff writes itself!

  2. #2 Roger Tang
    April 27, 2006

    Mr. Snow–two words: Corey Maye.

    Butthead indeed.

  3. #3 Miguelito
    April 27, 2006

    We certainly know that intolerance is alive and well in America.

  4. #4 Greg Peterson
    April 27, 2006

    Of course, he makes his idiotic statement all but bullet-proof by employing a bit of “no true Scot rhetoric”–if a person supports racism, she is by definition not sensible; if a person is sensible, he does not support racism. Well, who can even take issue with such…vapidness?

  5. #5 CanuckRob
    April 27, 2006

    I think Bushco made a great choice in Tony Snow. Given his background and affiliaton with Fox it will save everyone a lot of time trying to figure out if this guy is more believable that his predecessor. We all know he is a lying bastard right from the get go. Perfect.

  6. #6 Dustin
    April 27, 2006

    I still smell an impeachment on the wind. Maybe after Bush gets booted from the White Frat House, Snow can get a job as a gameshow host on Comedy Central.

  7. #7 Dustin
    April 27, 2006

    Right. White was supposed to have a strike through it, but my html tags have lost their powers.

  8. #8 FishyFred
    April 27, 2006

    Okay Tony. Ignore this.

  9. #9 NatureSelectedMe
    April 27, 2006

    The linked story from the Alas sounds so simple when you paint it as black vs white. A clearer case of racism can’t be found.

    Why did they even take it to jury?

    From the story:

    In a case that relied almost entirely on witness accounts, the defense attorneys assailed each of the state’s witnesses, who gave different and sometimes contradictory accounts of who did what. Some made identification after the defendants’ pictures were in the media.

    Could just be a case of very good defense lawyers.
    But it’s much easier to say:

    Well, it sure as hell helped that they were white, and cops, and that their victim was neither.

  10. #10 Jonathan Badger
    April 27, 2006

    One of these people is a babbling butthead

    Why do we have to choose between two buttheads? Obviously racism exists and is a problem, but it is pretty disingenuous to see it in every case where a verdict doesn’t go in the favor of a member of a minority. If anyone has *evidence* that the jurors in the Jude case were biased, then great, please present it.

  11. #11 PZ Myers
    April 27, 2006

    Wingnut brains all work the same way, don’t they? When clearcut cases of malfeasance that contradict their worldview are brought to light, first thing they do is point somewhere else and shout, “Oooh! Ooh! A bad thing over there!”

    Look, it doesn’t matter. The evidence suggests that the guy who was beat up wasn’t a very good person, and he probably did something to antagonize the cops. It doesn’t matter. He could have been a baby-raping monster who cannibalized your grandmother’s left buttock, and it doesn’t matter. Those cops went beyond the bounds of civilized behavior, betrayed the trust we must grant to the police, and were given a free pass by a bigoted jury.

    This was wrong. It was racism. Little weasels like you abet that bigotry when you play these games.

  12. #12 plucky punk
    April 27, 2006

    I was wondering what happened to my grandmother’s left buttock…

  13. #13 Jonathan Badger
    April 27, 2006

    I have no idea who you are responding to, PZ. Was it me? If so, your attacks miss the mark rather widely.

  14. #14 Roger Tang
    April 27, 2006

    I have no idea who you are responding to, PZ. Was it me? If so, your attacks miss the mark rather widely.

    Actually…

    “He shoots! He scores!”

  15. #15 BC
    April 27, 2006

    Tony Snow: “Racism isn’t that big a deal any more.”

    When I first read the quote, I wondered, “Is he saying that racism is okay now?” You might want to tack-on the next sentence or the next few sentences: “No sensible person supports it. Nobody of importance preaches it. It’s rapidly becoming an ugly memory.” so people can answer your question before they follow the links.

  16. #16 Jonathan Badger
    April 27, 2006

    “He shoots! He scores!”

    The fact is, we *don’t* know what happened in the case. It’s eye-witness vs. eye-witness. Is it possible that the jury was racist and unfairly ignored the witnesses that incriminated the cops. Sure. It’s also entirely possible that one the peer reviewers on my last paper was a rival of myself or my former advisor and gave an bad review unfairly. These things *do* happen in trials and peer reviews. I don’t deny that. But it was also possible that the evidence against the cops in the trial wasn’t sufficiently convincing and that the peer reviewer legitimately found my data analysis lacking.

    In any case, I fully agree that the fact that Jude appears not to be the most upstanding citizen to be completely irrelevant. Any arguments that say “he’s lying about the beating because he’s a bad person” are completely invalid. But I didn’t resort to any such fallacies.

  17. #17 George Cauldron
    April 27, 2006

    “Racism isn’t that big a deal any more.”

    I just find it remarkable that a white man would feel CONFIDENT in saying this, and apparently believe that he is actually in a position to KNOW this.

    Or alternately, his political agenda demands that this statement be true, and the actual accuracy of the statement is beside the point.

  18. #18 SEF
    April 27, 2006

    Wow – it certainly looks like a bad miscarriage of justice (most likely through both racism and prejudice towards authority figures). I suppose it’s quite hard to get people who want to be policemen without also getting people who want to abuse being policemen.

  19. #19 Roger Tang
    April 27, 2006

    The fact is, we *don’t* know what happened in the case. It’s eye-witness vs. eye-witness. Is it possible that the jury was racist and unfairly ignored the witnesses that incriminated the cops. Sure. It’s also entirely possible that one the peer reviewers on my last paper was a rival of myself or my former advisor and gave an bad review unfairly. These things *do* happen in trials and peer reviews. I don’t deny that. But it was also possible that the evidence against the cops in the trial wasn’t sufficiently convincing and that the peer reviewer legitimately found my data analysis lacking.

    This would be valid if considered in a vacuum.

    However, we AREN’T considering it in a vacuum; we’re considering it in a society where there’s considerable evidence that Driving While Black is still a crime, that blacks draw proportionately more attention from security personnel (public and private) for the same behavior other races engage in, where there still seems to be remnants of housing discrimination using some of the best controls we can get at, and so on and so forth.

    It’s like the evidence for evolution—not a single smoking gun, but lots of small pieces of evidence that add up to an ugly picture.

    Now, it’s certainly POSSIBLE racism played no part in this decision, but given society as a whole, and given these are the areas where racism has been known to raise its head currently, I would certainly not rule it out as a factor.

  20. #20 Jonathan Badger
    April 27, 2006

    Now, it’s certainly POSSIBLE racism played no part in this decision, but given society as a whole, and given these are the areas where racism has been known to raise its head currently, I would certainly not rule it out as a factor.

    Nor would I. But that’s not the same as ruling it in, which is what Ampersand and PZ seem to be doing.

  21. #21 Kadin
    April 27, 2006

    This is unrelated to the post, but I’m looking for something. A while ago, I read a post somewhere on the Pledge of Allegiance. It was a story about a kid who refused to stand for the Pledge, but in the story, instead of ‘under God’, the offensive qualifier was ‘white’, and the kid wouldn’t stand because it was racist. Help, please?

  22. #22 klystron
    April 27, 2006

    Anyone who claims that racism is no longer a factor obviously was in orbit around Neptune during the OJ Simpson trial…hell, Jesse Jackson, Johnny Cocrain and their ilk have made great fortunes making use of racism.

  23. #23 pdf23ds
    April 27, 2006

    In any given case, it’s really impossible for people hundreds or thousands of miles away to tell for certain whether racism was a serious factor. But the overall trends of the country don’t lie. Discrimination is undeniable. And the illustrative value doesn’t depend on whether or not racism was actually involved. Cases like this illustrate what racism does look like when it is involved.

    Whether a given case is a part of a larger pattern of oppression is really immaterial. What’s important is that the oppresion is there, demonstrably, and needs to be eliminated. And anything that reminds people of what the reality is is a good thing.

  24. #24 FrancestheMagnificent
    April 27, 2006

    I think Bushco made a great choice in Tony Snow. Given his background and affiliaton with Fox it will save everyone a lot of time trying to figure out if this guy is more believable that his predecessor. We all know he is a lying bastard right from the get go. Perfect.

    LOL.

    I don’t disagree, but I do think, for a right-wing partisan, Snow is a very competant debater. That’s why I think he’ll probably excel in this role – at least, as much as one possibly can excel when you’re the mouthpiece for the single worst president in US history.

  25. #25 Caledonian
    April 27, 2006

    And the illustrative value doesn’t depend on whether or not racism was actually involved.

    Speaking of buttheaded statements…

  26. #26 pdf23ds
    April 27, 2006

    The value in publicizing incidents like these isn’t that they’re anecdotal proof of oppresion. It’s that they incite a personal reaction in those reading about it to the state of affairs that makes these incidents much more common than they should be. And when incidents where racism is involved look the same from the outside as incidents where racism isn’t really involved, the value of publicising the incident doesn’t really change with whether the incident is an actual incidence of racism.

  27. #27 Christopher
    April 28, 2006

    The people denying that racism was involved here have brought up ONE piece of evidence. Conflicting eyewitness accounts.

    Hey, here’s a couple of questions: Why did they need to beat an unarmed man within an inch of his life, and who the fuck was it that asked the woman to hang up the phone?

    Jesus, when the fuck CAN we assume racism?

  28. #28 Jonathan Badger
    April 28, 2006

    he people denying that racism was involved here have brought up ONE piece of evidence. Conflicting eyewitness accounts.
    Hey, here’s a couple of questions: Why did they need to beat an unarmed man within an inch of his life, and who the fuck was it that asked the woman to hang up the phone?

    I don’t know to what degree either of those descriptions are fair accounts of what happened. But neither do you, PZ, or Ampersand. We don’t have evidence to the full testimony that the members of the jury had. PZ often rightly attacks the fallacious ” Argumentum ad Popularum” when it comes to issues of science or theism, but assuming that a trial that came up with an unpopular verdict was biased is the same flawed argument.

    Jesus, when the fuck CAN we assume racism?

    When there’s evidence of it. I’m perfectly willing to change my opinion of the fairness of the trial if later reports show that one of more of the jury members were later overhead making racist jokes about the trial. Or maybe it will come to light that some of the accused cops made threats against the jury members, and that’s why they didn’t make a conviction.

  29. #29 outeast
    April 28, 2006

    My tuppence worth:

    – The balance of probabilities is that the lawyers’ decision to select out the black members of the jury was made with a clear aim to wringing any possible benefit from the race angle (and was therefore racist, though the lawyers themselves may not have been).

    – Even without race playing a part the juries would likely have been unwilling to convict the officers concerned if they were not satisfied that those individual officers were personally responsible for the shocking severity of the beating. Their acquittal does not necessarily indicate endorsement of the beating itself – it may simply indicate that the jurors were persuaded that these were not the real guilty ones (the fact that they were only charged with ‘being a party to the crime’ may have reinforced this).

    – Further to the above, each of the individual defences is plausible – again, even without the race issue a good lawyer could sell any one of them. Since only three of the seemingly large number of offenders in the dock it would be easy to sow the suspicion that the real thugs had escaped the net.

    – The fact that the defendants were police officers may well have had more impact than the fact of their being white; likewise, the fact that this Jude guy is clearly a nasty piece of work may have had more importance than his being black. If it was a similarly nasty piece of poor white trash I doubt the case would have gone that much differently.

    – FWIW, I’m sure the race aspect didn’t help. It may not have been such a critical aspect of the trial as is being said, though. I’d be chary of making overly strong accusations though (as Jonathan suggests).

    – A separate issue is the racism of the police themselves (which seems far more overt) and the deliberate exploitation of racial tension by the lawyers.

    – Of course, none of this is to say that it wasn’t To Kill a Mockingbird all over again… just to say, again like Jonathan, that we don’t have all the pieces of the picture and should perhaps be cautious in our accusations.

  30. #30 NatureSelectedMe
    April 28, 2006

    The balance of probabilities is that the lawyers’ decision to select out the black members of the jury was made with a clear aim to wringing any possible benefit from the race angle (and was therefore racist, though the lawyers themselves may not have been).

    IMO, the underlying assumption here is that everyone is racist. If given a choice, people always pick their own race. I don’t think so. I know this a just one of your points but following that logic; can we safely assume PZ loves Bush more than Barack Obama?

  31. #31 The Constructivist
    April 28, 2006

    PZ, this one seems to me a no-brainer. What do you think of academic racism–is it any harder to identify? For instance, would you argue that my colleague is a racist for arguing that races are real or just for the implications he draws from such a claim?

  32. #32 Inoculated Mind
    April 28, 2006

    It’s awfully easy to sit in a Fox News station and claim that racism is a thing of the past, especially because it is virtually invisible to him. He might as well say that poverty is a thing of the past because all the people he knows are in the middle class or higher.
    Case in point, one of the big campaign issues for the City Council election in Davis, CA, is the racial profiling of (the few) black people in Davis by the police. Some people I know have been stopped repeatedly for “walking while black” in up-scale-looking apartment complexes… where they live. There is a house that the police stop by once every week, whose occupants have never been charged with anything, and the police slow down and shine their lights on the patio, which is harrasment.
    I know it is going on, but I have not experienced it personally. They don’t stop me on the street, nor do they peer into my dwelling all the time. I am invisible to them, just as their racism is invisible to my personal experience. But as soon as you get someone visible to them, it becomes readily apparent.
    I could easily claim that I have never seen this racism, just like Snow White here does, but I, unlike him, understand how the biases out there alter my perception, and what this tells me is that Snow hasn’t taken the time to go talk to people who claim racism exists, and he wrongly applies his personal perception to all of reality. It also seems like an argument from ignorance on his part.
    An even bigger question might be – why is sexism far more visible, and no more justifiable than racism?
    Karl

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