Re: I Did Not Know That

1

The only thing keeping my outrage in check is that some of the most racist people I know are Iranians.

It ain't easy growing up Lur, is it?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:01 PM
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2

That's so patronizing of you to claim that poverty leads to crime.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:04 PM
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3

I was going to ask "Why is getting tough on crime a better sell for a politician here than elsewhere?"; race would be the obvious answer, but I don't think that explains Canada. However, "elected judges" seems like it might have more to do with it. A bad idea, once and always.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:04 PM
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4

For those not inclined to click through and read the article, the second paragraph contains a whole lotta explanation:

Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes -- from writing bad checks to using drugs -- that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:08 PM
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Just to throw something out, here: maybe the drug war has something to do with the large number of people in jail?

Also if you're looking for evidence of racism in the judicial system I'd say relative sentence lengths are a good place to start.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:10 PM
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6

Pwned by the article. Don't that figure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:10 PM
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7

It's not the poverty, it's the drugs. Better living through chemistry, indeed.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:10 PM
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8

Sifu is drug-pwned! We've all been there.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:11 PM
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9

And I'm meta-pwned!


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:11 PM
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10
San Marino, with a population of about 30,000, is at the end of the long list of 218 countries compiled by the center. It has a single prisoner.

Poor guy (assumed). I hope they let him have a kitten or something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:13 PM
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11

Up until the pointless, unprovoked war, the torture, and the various disgraces resulting from the use of the constitution as toilet paper, incarceration policy in this country was probably the most shameful thing we had going. At least domestically.


Posted by: cerebrocrat | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:13 PM
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7: yeees, because endemic poverty and drug use have absolutely nothing to do with each other.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:14 PM
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10: Seriously. The guy has to spend his entire sentence in solitary confinement.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:17 PM
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14

As far as I can remember, everyone I have ever heard say actual racist things about black people has been Asian. With one exception.

That's maybe 7 out of 8.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:18 PM
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14- Convincing.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:23 PM
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16

You've only heard *8* people make racist remarks about blacks? Man, did we have different childhoods.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:28 PM
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17

Two points:

1. Racism- while not suggesting that there is no historic basis for this claim, and agreeing that "institutional" racism exists in a narrow definition, comparing the US to other western countries with histories of a homogeneous culture doesn't seem right. Remember that Italian poster on health care in the other thread? Institutional racism is on the rise in Europe.

2. Drug policy- I read somewhere that marijuana was included in the "bad" drugs list specifically because the negroes liked it. There are some innovative policies in local courts for rehab programs versus incarceration. Here I agree with those who say war is not the answer. We need to surrender to drugs. Maybe sign a surrender statement on a cigarette boat off the coast of Florida.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:29 PM
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18

yeees, because endemic poverty and drug use have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

And self destructive behaviour is a great way to end poverty. Why didn't I think of that


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:31 PM
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17: The fact that the United States is losing a war against *inanimate objects* is kinda embarrassing.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:31 PM
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You've only heard *8* people make racist remarks about blacks? Man, did we have different childhoods.

I love you, Apo.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:32 PM
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18: yeah, those knuckleheads. If only they realized that the hopelessness of a life with few-to-no prospects is best faced stone-cold sober.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:33 PM
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The fact that the United States is losing a war against *inanimate objects* is kinda embarrassing.

Better or worse than losing a war against a malleable concept?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:36 PM
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23

they realized that the hopelessness of a life with few-to-no prospects

Talk about your soft bigotry of low expectations! Here poverty stricken individual, life has dealt you a shitty hand. Have some drugs and feel temporarily better.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:37 PM
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24

Another clue, by the way, as to how racism can be blamed for America's incarceration rates can be found in this paragraph:

The spike in American incarceration rates is quite recent. From 1925 to 1975, the rate remained stable, around 110 people in prison per 100,000 people. It shot up with the movement to get tough on crime in the late 1970s.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:38 PM
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25

||

Breaking...

Vox Day's pa is in the news:

The trial of millionaire tax protester Robert Beale turned bizarre even before jury selection began Monday, as the prosecutor announced the arrest of four of Beale's supporters for conspiring with Beale to disrupt the proceedings and intimidate the judge.
"God ... wants me to take the judge out, that's what he wants me to do," Beale allegedly told his common-law wife, according to a new criminal complaint filed against him and the four associates.....
In a new complaint unsealed Monday the former executive was charged with conspiracy to prevent U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery from overseeing his trial.
"Once I take down Ann Montgomery, no judge in the whole court will have anything to do with me," Beale said in a tape-recorded phone call from jail.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:38 PM
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26

And in my hometown, they're seizing the vehicles of people accused of solicitation.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:39 PM
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27
You honkies really can't win on this one.

Ha. Who's trying to win on this one?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:40 PM
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24. See- segregation wasn't so bad after all. Wouldn't you rather be on the other side of the tracks than in jail? Silly negroes, thinking that equality included them.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:41 PM
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29

And the "Get tough on Crime" thing is an easy sell when you've got a media that promotes fear like ours does.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:42 PM
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30

TLL I think you overplayed your hand, trolling-wise. I'm on to you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:42 PM
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31

Institutional racism is on the rise in Europe.

Lose the "institutional", and it has been for decades. It's cold comfort that from the 1970s forward the US and Britain have probably been among the least racist countries in the world. This is not in any way to excuse them, but to contextualise the problem.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:42 PM
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26: You gotta love the final paragraph of that article:

One man, according to police, solicited a prostitute while his 7-year-old daughter was in the car. She'd received a bike for her birthday that day, Godwin said. The bike wasn't confiscated, he added.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:44 PM
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33

29: and you're safely and suburbanly cocooned away from the actual people you'll be locking up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:44 PM
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34

29: and you're safely and suburbanly cocooned away from the actual people you'll be locking up.

Wrong

If that were the case, why would you care if they were locked up or free? The real issue is that those people will invade your cocoon at any moment!


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:49 PM
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35

34 should be read in the voice of Dwight Shrute.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:51 PM
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24

"Another clue, by the way, as to how racism can be blamed for America's incarceration rates can be found in this paragraph:


"The spike in American incarceration rates is quite recent. From 1925 to 1975, the rate remained stable, around 110 people in prison per 100,000 people. It shot up with the movement to get tough on crime in the late 1970s.""

America was less racist from 1925 to 1975?

Actually the spike in incarceration rates followed a spike in crime rates.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:58 PM
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37

It occurs to me to mention something I'd forgotten, in connection with the recent thread on the sorry state of Baltimore schools -- the video depicting a teacher being beaten up by her student.

The wife of a friend, who helps in curriculum development for training for the AP psychology exam, recently spent a day at that school. Astonishing. One teacher she spoke to was ecstatic that one of her pupils had recently answered a test question by writing an entire paragraph. Normally he writes a single sentence, then puts his head down on his desk.

"Why?" I asked, "Why does he put his head down?" Unknown in the particular, but probably because he's exhausted at dealing with his home situation, hasn't eaten enough, doesn't see the point, needs to rest.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 12:59 PM
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38

Actually the spike in incarceration rates followed a spike in crime rates.

And the spike in crime rates followed the abandonment of public schools and city centers by the white middle class in the wake of the civil rights movement, yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:02 PM
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39

I read somewhere that marijuana was included in the "bad" drugs list specifically because the negroes liked it.

It was the Mexicans, actually.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:09 PM
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40

And the civil rights movement followed the introduction of fluoridated water, so there's your real culprit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:09 PM
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41

There's no denying that racism in its many forms is partially responsible for our shameful incarceration policy. But I'm pretty sure that driving that point home is not actually helping. Why can't this be about making our prison system more sane? Fixing the drug laws, eliminating mandatory minimums, etc are things that can be done without issuing a single peep about racism.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:09 PM
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42

We need to surrender to drugs. Maybe sign a surrender statement on a cigarette boat off the coast of Florida.

In such moments, I remember why I don't mind having the occasional glibertarian loiter on the premises.

The cabal around the emperor will not agree to the surrender until the drugs drop the Big One on a major city: 350,000 stoned in a single, blinding flash of atomic doobage.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:10 PM
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43

41: that's true. You don't want to offend the all-important "racism is totally fine" constituency.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:13 PM
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44

40: doesn't it just figure it was the Commies.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:13 PM
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45

We could fix our prisons through Laetrile and phonics, but atheist do-gooders have made that impossible.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:19 PM
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46

OT: So close, so very close:

Just seconds into his speech, he was interrupted by two environmental activists, who stormed the stage shortly after Friedman stepped up to the microphone, tossing two paper plates loaded with shamrock-colored whipped cream at him. Friedman ducked, and was left with only minor streams of the sugary green goo on his black pants and turtleneck.

Well, it's the thought that counts.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:19 PM
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47

Another angle on this story goes unmentioned: that our prisons have abandoned all pretense of rehabilition or reintegration, and now target only punishment and isolation from law-abiding society.

This is an underappreciated factor in our high incarceration rate. Why? Because our recidivism rates are intolerably high. This has at least four dire consequences: (1) once someone comes in contact with the prison system, he or she is likely to become a repeat customer; (2) the horrifying statistics on recidivism and "career criminals" paved the way for longer sentences and "three strikes"-style legislation; (3) The sheer size of the prison system makes it next to impossible to run them as anything other than human warehouses, given budgetary constraints; (4) The sheer size of the prison-industrial complex gives rise to a large voting constituency (often concentrated in districts with disproportionate representation because the inmates get counted as residents, but can't vote) in favor of more prison construction and harsher treatment.

The "bad people belong behind bars" prophecy has become self-fulfilling.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:21 PM
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48

On the other hand, our prison rape jokes are the funniest in the world.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:24 PM
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49

It was the Mexicans, actually.

And Mormons!
http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/stories/2003/12/22/whyIsMarijuanaIllegal.html


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:28 PM
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Breaking Off-Topic Follow-Up! The Brown Daily Herald reports that the pie in question did, in fact, connect with Thomas Friedman's face:

A female audience member ran on stage last night and threw a green pie at New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who had just begun a lecture on environmentalism in Salomon 101. ... After the pie hit Friedman and splattered on his face and torso, the two jumped offstage and ran out of the southeast exit of the building, followed closely by a man trying to catch them.

We'll have more on this breaking story as it develops!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:28 PM
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51

It was the Mexicans, actually.

Funny that. Over here it was the Egyptians. Really.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:35 PM
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47.(3)(4) Yes. The prison-industrial complex, as it were, the privatization of the prison system, has a great deal to do with it in recent years.

As for cautions over the "it's racism!" note, fine, focus on the permanent poor and neglected underclass. (Which happens to be primarily black, but that's circumstantial, no?)

Any society that courts the kind of severely distorted distribution of income ours does invites this. Couple that with privatization and what Might, Might be distinctly American -- the valorizing of the self-made man, of boot-strapping in the face of all odds -- and you get a society that doesn't give a flying fuck about its lost.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 1:48 PM
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Might be distinctly American -- the valorizing of the self-made man, of boot-strapping in the face of all odds -- and you get a society that doesn't give a flying fuck about its lost.

Channeling Robert Reich for a moment here, I think the American exceptionalist propaganda contains more myth than is commonly acknowledged. The "self-made man" is a product of the Gilded Age, and the "boot-strapping individualist" is only one of several competing narratives that Americans have subscribed to. At some point--and I believe it dates to approximately January 1981--the glorification of the individual completely eclipsed an equally rich American tradition of solidarity and collective action, a tradition that includes the Mayflower Compact, the Minutemen, pioneer barn-raisings, the jury system, the Union widows pension, the labor movement, the Bonus Marchers, Liberty Bonds, and the Civil Rights Movement.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 2:09 PM
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Which happens to be primarily black

Disproportionately black, but not primarily so. Non-Hispanic whites still make up about 50% of the poor in this country.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 2:15 PM
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55

And let's not forget the orgones.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 2:15 PM
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56

wake of the civil rights movement, yes.

Have you read Sugrue, Origins of the Urban Crisis on Detroit 1940s-1967 (roughly from riot to riot)? He concentrates on housing and jobs and doesn't get into schools, but much of the white flight in Detroit pre-dates what's usually considered the backlash of the late 60s and 70s. Some of the most interesting parts of the book are about the white neighborhoods that did not take flight to the suburbs. An odd thing about the book is that he doesn't talk much about the civil rights movement at all.

(This probably isn't really an objection to your comment. I just like to recommend the book.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 2:28 PM
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43: however


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 2:35 PM
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54: Disproportionately black, but not primarily so.

Yes. Thank you; a needed correction.

Origins of the Urban Crisis we have been selling like mad from the bookshop lately. Maybe a beat-up copy left around that I'll look at.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 3:05 PM
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Some of the most interesting parts of the book are about the white neighborhoods that did not take flight to the suburbs.

I knew some Orthodox Jewish kids in Michigan who were from one of these suburbs (Southfield), which is split middle-class black families and Orthodox families. Which is common, because it's hard to pick up and move an Orthodox community, so they get left behind when white flight happens. (Better get used to getting Left Behind, you stinkin' Jews!)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 3:13 PM
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(Better get used to getting Left Behind, you stinkin' Jews!)

Or move to Iowa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriprocessors


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 3:39 PM
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because it's hard to pick up and move an Orthodox community, so they get left behind when white flight happens.

Oh, that's why. I always attributed it to some curious inate tendency of the Orthodox to construct settlements in the midst of hostile, swarthy gentiles.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 3:41 PM
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62

What makes them more sessile than other whiteys?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 3:47 PM
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63

For one thing, they have to live close to each other, because everything has to be within walking distance on the Sabbath.

(at least the ones who live near me)


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 3:49 PM
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64

What makes them more sessile than other whiteys?

Someone lost a five-dollar bill, and no one is willing to leave until it's found.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 3:53 PM
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65

64: But then the inner cities would be full of Scots too. I'm confused!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 4:01 PM
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66

64 is awesome.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 4:03 PM
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66: I have to disclaim original authorship of 64. It's the punchline to an an old joke about why the Children of Israel wandered around the desert for 40 years.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 4:12 PM
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60: I'll just repeat that if I were to be killed and eaten, I'd insist that the slaughtering by supervised by that nice Temple Grandin.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 4:13 PM
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The whites who stayed behind in Sugrue's book didn't end up in integrated neighborhoods (at least pre-1967). Instead, through various things like throwing rocks, blaring music, vandalizing property, and making threatening phone calls they drove out black families who tried to move into their neighborhoods.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 5:24 PM
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Fixing the drug laws, eliminating mandatory minimums, etc are things that can be done without issuing a single peep about racism.

It remains amazing to me, though, that a substantial minority of (white) people are willing to continue these kinds of things out of racism. Regardless of whether people they know are affected by them, the sheer fact that black people would benefit is enough to make them oppose it.

I hear it most in terms of prison education and anti-recidivism programs. It's usually couched as "Why should they get special advantages just because they went to prison? I didn't get any Pell grant to go to college," but immediately below the surface it's racism at least 80% of the time.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-23-08 8:16 PM
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