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By the mariner (Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:03:28 AM EST) STOP RACISM (all tags)
i thought i would pass along this rather controversial link.

basically, the author is saying he's boycotting a deli because an employee, not the owner, who he describes as a perfectly good person, frisked forest whitaker (some actor, apparently) under suspicion of shoplifting. he then goes on to assume the employee was a racist and that's why he did it. no evidence, no proof, just a trip to the stockade of the new york times opinion page for the deli owner and his employees, now forever branded as racists.

for all the high minded, well-intentioned rhetoric of the elite media, they're remarkably willing to give a platform to whatever bomb thrower wanders in off the street to fill in for their regular columnists. i'm sorry, but if i don't see a body, i don't want to hear about racism.



this time i'm with the commenters at nytimes, didn't think i'd ever say that. i'm tired of being called a racist. i'm tired of hearing other people like me being called a racist. it offends me. i don't cross the street when i see black people coming (unless they're wearing hoodies). i don't judge a book by its cover. i resent the implication that even good people are racists.

the way i see it, a deli employee in an upscale new york restaurant has to run a tight ship. these places face high rent and low margins. they can't afford to get robbed by whoever walks in off the street. if he thought he saw something, we have to take him at his word. you know, i've been to plenty of delis and not a single time have i been frisked by an employee. i can't even imagine looking so shifty and suspicious i'd be suspected of stealing.

all this talk from people with names i can't pronounce just goes to show how hand wringing about so-called racism (like trying to run a business) is just a distraction from the real racists trying to scare up a profit accusing business owners of racism. i wish people would use that word with its appropriate gravity.

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You might want to read the rest of the article. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:25:41 AM EST
I am trying to see Sean Penn or Nicolas Cage being frisked at an upscale deli,
I can't see it either. Just because the guy didn't say "Nigger!" doesn't mean he's not being racist in assuming that the black guy is a criminal.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

of course, they're famous. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 09:48:43 AM EST
and they don't look suspicious. like the columnist, you assume the employee was racist and frisked the guy because he was black. no proof. no evidence. you weren't even there.

also, maybe you feel comfortable enough with "the people" to use that word (you know which one), but that makes me very uncomfortable and i hope you'll exercise some discretion when you use it. not everyone has been desensitized by decades of rap music.

[ Parent ]
granted that I wasn't there by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:38:23 AM EST
but I live in the neighborhood, I walk by that deli all the time, and while I don't usually shop there because it's expensive, I'm familiar enough with it to have a sense for how its prices stock up against other stores in the neighborhood.

there is not a doubt in my mind that whitaker was frisked because of his race.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
I see your point by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 2) #4 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:41:11 AM EST
Yesterday I visited my local deli, and in the corner I noticed a small collection of black-brown rough spheres a few millimeters in diameter.

At the time, I thought to myself "ugh, rat droppings" and decided to go to a different deli in future.

But after reading this diary, I realise now that I don't actually know for certain that they were rat droppings. It's a bit unlikely, but they might have been those little chocolate balls you get on top of some doughnuts. Clearly it would be immoral of me to start going to a different shop, just on the basis of a very likely suspicion that there are rats crawling all over my food. Unless I see ironclad proof of a standard suitable for a court of law, I should just keep buying and eating food from the merely-suspicious place.
--
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
well, that's fine when nothing is at stake, by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 04:26:26 PM EST
but i expect a more rigorous finding of fact when a man and his business have their reputation on the line -- i seldom see this expectation met by the purveyors of reverse racism who find their homes with the grey lady and other such august publications of the liberal intelligentsia. maybe in europe the charge of racism isn't a big deal, but i can assure you in the united states it is a very serious matter.

[ Parent ]
The USA is OBSESSED with race. n/t by dmg (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:01:44 PM EST

--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Given that something 600k by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:55:03 AM EST
were killed in a war over slavery it's somewhat understandable. And then we followed that up with a 100 year terrorist insurgency.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Yeah by dmg (2.00 / 0) #19 Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:24:30 AM EST
But can't we all just get along?
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
Europe is famed for it's peaceful history. by bobdole (2.00 / 0) #23 Sat Mar 09, 2013 at 11:59:51 AM EST
with none killed for petite things such as race, religion or just for settling scores between royal houses.
-- The revolution will not be televised.
[ Parent ]
The European equivalent by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #24 Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 07:49:28 AM EST
Would be WW1, or the Thirty Years War.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Yep by bobdole (4.00 / 1) #25 Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:23:37 AM EST
and after WW1 and 20 million dead soldiers we waited another 20 years before our leaders decided to rearrange the borders once again to the tune of 60-70 million dead.

While I'm not completely sold on this EU peace price, you can't argue the fact that we haven't seen slaughter at this scale for a good 70 years now (not that all of Europe has been peaceful since, but still).
-- The revolution will not be televised.

[ Parent ]
So is Forest Whitaker by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 11:15:47 AM EST
He's been making movies for 30 years.

and they don't look suspicious while, to you, Forest Whitaker does, exactly proves TNC's point.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
wow by gzt (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 03:42:15 PM EST
i've only seen 2 of his movies. three, if you count his uncredited role in Mr Holland's Opus (i don't blame him for not being associated with that).

[ Parent ]
i know, right? by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #28 Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 04:34:45 AM EST
and all this time i thought that guy was samuel l jackson!

[ Parent ]
you ASSume too much. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 04:23:01 PM EST
i don't even know who forest whitaker is!

[ Parent ]
Uh by Captain Tenille (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:00:16 PM EST
Maybe we're thinking of different Sean Penns, but he can look sketchy as fuck. 

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/* You are not expected to understand this. */


[ Parent ]
Does he ever not look sketchy? by lm (4.00 / 1) #16 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 11:27:29 PM EST
Not to mention, Mr. Penn is one guy that I would frisk if he walked into my business establishment and I recognized him for who he is.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I was being generous. by Captain Tenille (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:53:51 AM EST
He pretty much always looks sketchy as all fuck as far as I can recall. 

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/* You are not expected to understand this. */


[ Parent ]
Funny side note by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 06:43:39 PM EST
Whitaker and Penn both got their big breaks in the same movie.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
the assumption that only bad people are racists by aphrael (4.00 / 4) #5 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:42:55 AM EST
is one of the most destructive assumptions in modern political discourse.

it's destructive because it makes it very, very difficult for people to recognize and acknowledge when they engage in racist behaviors or when they have emotional reactions which are based in subtle or unconscious racism. because everyone thinks they're a good person, so therefore anything they're doing/thinking/feeling can't possibly be racist, right?

i don't cross the street when i see black people coming. i try very hard not to judge a book by its cover. but i feel much safer walking around the dominican parts of uptown manhattan at 3 in the morning than i do walking around the african-american parts of harlem at the same time of day. that's a racist reaction, and i won't let it control my behavior [meaning that it won't stop me from walking the length of 125th in the middle of the night if there's a reason for me to do it], but honesty with myself requires that i admit to feeling it, and to feeling guilty for feeling it.

but i can only admit it because i believe that even good people can have racist reactions; and acknowledging my own latent racist reactions is the first step towards overcoming them.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

Not knowing either area by marvin (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 01:11:42 PM EST
Is there a difference in crime rate between Harlem and the Dominican areas? If you are less likely to be attacked or mugged in one area than another, could a portion of your fear be attributed to probability / knowledge of risk?

[ Parent ]
not sure. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 01:55:52 PM EST
i'm sure the crime statistics for the neighborhoods are different, but i don't know what the statistics are.

when i first moved to the city, and it was a strange place i wasn't familiar with, i'd look up crime statistics before going places. now? not so much; i rely more on my personal sense for what's normal behavior and what's safe when i'm on the street, and  i have no clue what the statistics say.

honestly, i think that's what people do (unless they're either (a) oblivious drunk wealthy people or (b) upper middle class people too terrified to venture anywhere outside of their comfort zones). you judge based on crowd behavior patterns and building repair, etc.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Here's a thought. by dmg (4.00 / 2) #14 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 08:06:25 PM EST
What is racism is an 'orientation', like being gay or lesbian or bisexual?

Perhaps all the modern politically correct attempts to 'cure' people of their natural tendencies will be viewed in future with the same disgust that we now look upon Christians who claim to be able to 'cure' gayness.

It seems to me that racists should simply be left alone to their racism. It's in their DNA. There's no point in trying to counterbalance 1000s of years of evolution. Racism is presumably conferring some reproductive advantage on racists as a group, otherwise they would have died out.

Controversial stance, I know, but HUSI never shies away from tackling the difficult subjects of the day.
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.

hm, your ideas are intriguing to me by the mariner (4.00 / 2) #15 Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:11:26 PM EST
and i wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

[ Parent ]
The employee should be fired by jimgon (4.00 / 2) #17 Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 06:45:54 AM EST

Doesn't matter if he's got race issues or not.  He frisked a customer.  You think a customer stole something, then you detain and call the police.  You don't touch customers.  At the very least he provided really poor customer service.  I wouldn't go to this deli because I don't want to be treated like a criminal just by walking through the door.  I know who Forest Whitaker is and if it can happen to Forest Whitaker I assume it can happen to me.  So I would boycott this business because the employee is an asshole.  And there are places I can spend my money where the employees are not known to be assholes.






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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Racism is difficult. by technician (4.00 / 4) #20 Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:39:04 AM EST
Tough problem. Biases are a very tough thing to both detect and combat, and so many assumptions are made about snippets of a story that it is difficult to tell what's what.

Not that any of it matters. At all. To anyone other than the folks involved. Unless, of course, you believe that this is a symptom of systematic racism, a symptom of a larger societal problem. If nothing else, it is telling that race is what people think of immediately in this case. There's probably a reason for that, and that assumption is as good as any other based on the evidence.

So, we can't really know what that cracker was thinking when he laid hands on one of the finest actors of our generation, but I'd lay good money on race being a substantial factor in any incident of persecutorial behavior between a white guy in some position of authority, and a black guy in no position to argue. Because America.

fortunately, some people "get it" by nathan (2.00 / 0) #26 Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:24:05 AM EST
For instance, this fine young person: http://chicagomaroon.com/2013/03/12/105558/
Finally, on January 15, a full 15 months after the crime, I received notice in the mail that Davis had pled guilty to aggravated robbery and was sentenced to four years in prison (including the time he served before the sentence). I got the closure of a solid conviction that few victims of muggings ever do.
 
And so a man my same age was about to spend the same four years behind bars that I’m spending at one of the best universities in the world. Our meeting—however short and unfortunate—was a live example of systemic inequality.
 
While I attended events rallying against “mass incarceration,” I had also fueled it with my own efforts to seek justice against the man who had mugged me. I don’t feel guilty about what I did, nor do I in any way excuse the mugger’s behavior, but I feel obligated as a citizen of social conscience to situate this experience in a broader context of inequality. While I condemn the mugger and the pain he brought into my life, I realize that he likely faced challenges I couldn’t even begin to comprehend.

You can see that he is comfortable with ambiguity and, indeed, inconsistency -- and isn't that really the goal of elite post-secondary education? A less nuanced thinker might have said something vicious and troglodytic like "not sending robbers to jail isn't a social justice measure" or "I wonder if he'd still feel the same way if he'd been kicked a few times, not just scared a bit." But he understands that profiling is wrong.

But even such a careful, nuanced writer can stand to have his privilege checked, and one of the commenters on the article is quick to do so:
Violence comes in many shapes and colors, not just police cars and black men. Just remember, most of the victims don’t just ever get a sentence notice- they often lack a voice to tell their story, much less have it heard. Thank your privilege for that one, too.

You tell him! The very fact that you're not a chronic victim of violence and threats of violence is a form of illegitimate, racist privilege.

you have to realize these commenters, by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #27 Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:17:06 PM EST
"blog cockroaches," let's call them, represent a vanishingly small, insignificant minority of the population. you can't conclude based on the seemingly high concentration of such sentiment in the comment sections of blogs or periodicals that anyone actually thinks that way.

so sure, there are people out there on nearly every liberal blog and campus-oriented publication in the united states pushing the idea of white privilege and systemic racism. that doesn't mean the people you know in real life who fit the demographic profile of a reader of such publications actually thinks those kinds of things!

[ Parent ]
i worry that that might be true by nathan (2.00 / 0) #29 Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:55:39 AM EST
Thankfully, we have "street activists", like the unjustly imprisoned Mr. Davis, to make sure that everyone's privilege gets checked good and hard. What a pity that people are sometimes able to avoid acknowledging their privilege by moving to "racist spaces" like tony suburbs, gated communities and college towns.

[ Parent ]
indeed. by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #30 Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:04:21 PM EST
gotta say, i'm not surprised by any of the commentary there, but it doesn't speak well to the state of society in the united states that there are members of the upper middle class second guessing legal sanctions for violent crimes.

if there's any sense in which society, the police, etc. are at fault for crimes like this one, in which a black youth robs someone for an iphone, not to pawn to buy food or medicine for his ailing parent or even just to feed his own drug habit, but just so he can have an iphone, which he otherwise couldn't afford (?), it's that people like mr. davis grow up seeing crime being committed without consequence in an environment where many (understandably) won't talk to the police and criminals build a career of crime without getting caught. this doesn't sound like a crime of desperation, but rather one of disrespect for society and law bred by incompetent law enforcement.

[ Parent ]
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