There is a moderate Buzz on the Blogs this week about Marquette Prof. John McAdams' pre-emptive "study" about the disparity of black Americans who find themselves behind bars. Besides writing about it myself in my last post, the usual suspects have piped up about the "good" professor and he was just trying to get behind the numbers and blah de blah blah.
You'd think, to read the defenses, that McAdams is just some honest social scientist, reviewing the raw data with studious virtue, not seeking a desired result, but stumbling upon it anyway.
You would be wrong.
Sometimes, I join the comment thread on Rick Esenberg's "Shark and Shepard" blog just to get my two cents in and engage a little bit with Rick and some of his readers. We get some ideas out there for a couple of days and then let it go until we engage on another issues on another post on his blog or mine.
I was so engaged earlier this week over the Bill O'Reilly dust-up, where the Fox News Bully said on his radio show that he "couldn't get over" the human behavior in a Harlem restaurant that not only had black patrons but was run by blacks! Esenberg provided the usual excuses for this now-we-know-what-he-thinks-about-blacks comment, for some reason coming to the defense of O'Reilly the Blowhard. We have to start to "presume good faith" on the part of all those who enter the discussion on race in this country, he said. I disagreed that everyone gets a presumption of good faith in a comment:
You know what, Rick, I don't accept that O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Sykes or Belling come to racial issues in "good faith". They have built their careers on stirring up the "angry white male" -- it is Nixon's Southern Strategy brought to the radio marketplace. When Sykes calls black leaders "pimps" (unfathomably alright with you) and when Belling talks about black women "popping out babies" (you say you don't listen to the show, but the podcasts are readily available), they are using not even thinly veiled code words for well-understood racist concepts.
As for O'Reilly, I don't know why anyone would assume "good faith" on the part of someone who stirs up racial anxiety on purpose and then complains when it's pointed out. He's a big dumb jerk and proud of it. He has as much legitimate to offer on race relations as I do with who gets the GOP nomination (oh, please nominate Romney, please!).
People who want to be accepted in "good faith" have to do something besides tear down. They have to accept that there is a race problem in America. They can't just sit on the sidelines, throw spitballs, and call people trying to make a difference "pimps".
And O'Reilly knows what he said is wrong. That's why he can only attack those who point it out. He has yet to address the substance of his "can't get over" comment. He thinks he can hide behind Juan Williams unfortunate skirts forever, which, given Williams' pro-Fox disposition, he probably can.
And then there are people like you, Rick, who think that O'Reilly is acting in good faith and Jesse Jackson is a "pimp". You've got that exactly backward.
The problem, I think, is that you come close to assuming that people who don't agree with your take on the race problem and what to do with it are racist or are trying to stir up white people. But, you know, reasonable people can and do disagree with you.
I suppose that I could go and listen to Belling's podcasts but, since I didn't defend him (just didn't attack him), I see no need to do so and, as you know, life is short. I said that I disagree with you about Sykes and O'Reilly's comments about Sylvia's. I stand by that.
OK, fine and that was that, I figured. Then I checked the thread again today and found this gem from Prof. John McAdams himself:
To Mike Plaisted: Jackson and Sharpton are pimps.
Failure to recognize that poisons any discussion.
As for this:People who want to be accepted in "good faith" have to do something besides tear down. They have to accept that there is a race problem in America. They can't just sit on the sidelines, throw spitballs, and call people trying to make a difference "pimps".
You are begging the question.
You are assuming that the racial hustling of Jackson and Sharpton is "trying to make a difference."
In fact, those guys are self-aggrandizing clowns.
As long as you guys preach nonsense, knocking it down is an honorable enterprise.
You've played the race card too long. It's not 1963.
Wow. Stunning, isn't it? Forget the racist name-calling and code words (pimps, hustlers, clowns). As long as you guys preach nonsense, knocking it down is an honorable enterprise. Well, I guess we know how you'll be using your credentials, don't we, professor?
I can't wait for McAdams to show up and be interviewed by Mike Gousha in another of Marquette's "Listening to the Wing-nuts" lunchtime seminars to discuss his "learned" findings.
But here's the question for Esenberg (also on the Marquette faculty): how do you "presume good faith" with a fire-breathing lunatic like John McAdams, for whom "knocking down" civil rights heroes like Jesse Jackson is an "honorable enterprise"? Am I really "poisoning any discussion" of the issue by not recognizing legitimate civil rights leaders as "pimps"? Is it "playing the race card" to point out the continuing legacy of slavery and racism in America?
We know where McAdams, O'Reilly, Sykes and Belling stand. They approach the problem of race in America in the opposite of good faith; as a manufactured "race card" that needs to be "knocked down". As usual, we will have to work around them and in spite of them to find any solution to continuing America's racial divide.