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About Yellow#5

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  1. First of all, you are conflating many people's opinions about race and your racial attitudes and ascribing them to me. I think I've mentioned already that I'm not a minority and working to pay for my degree, for which I have no funding, though, it was clear to me long ago, you are not reading these posts, merely ranting. That's nice. I have a different opinion of what affirmative action is hoping to accomplish, which you'd know if you read my posts. I suppose the only person entitled to have a different opinion is you. I am speculating based on your comments on this board, that you are probably not the most awesomely supportive person to work with at the university, which I am led to believe by posts such as this one:
  2. Too bad you erased your very insightful comment of "yawn" from this thread, which you posted at 5:22 am this morning. It wasn't a mandatory poll, but I'm glad you woke up early to participate.
  3. In fact, that is not the justification. The justification is that minorities in disproportionate number don't have access to good schools, therefore, grades and test scores are used as only one indication of future success, (namely, grades indicate academic success in the past). The people who are given YOUR spots at other graduate schools have some quality that seems to indicate to the admin board that they will succeed in the future, perhaps it was this type of quality that your application lacked. Don't worry, school will start soon and you can go back to making fun of your undergraduate students' papers, as you frequently discuss on this board, and you won't have to spend as much time correcting everyone's spelling on these boards, even while you continue to post arguments that make no sense simply to hijack conversations in which you are not really interested. By the way, I overtly appreciated 3 white males today by openly complimenting them, but none of those white males were you.
  4. Take heart. There are many white males being appreciated at this very moment. Granted, not all of them, just the good ones.
  5. Investigation took one, maybe two officers. It was after that investigation was completed, when Officer Crowley radioed in (as captured on the 911 tapes) said I have a guy here named Henry Louis Gates, he lives in the house but he's unruly...keep the cars coming. All those cars were expensive. The break-in case was closed.
  6. The war on drugs is responsible for racial profiling in the first place. The landmark case was coincidentally brought in the 1990s by a Harvard grad, Robert Wilkins, who was working as a public defender. He was driving home from his fathers funeral in Maryland with his family and was stopped on the highway. The officer searched his car, including the trunk, against his consent while he and his family stood there in the rain. When he sued, he discovered it was the explicit policy of the Maryland PD to stop blacks, because they were supposedly more likely to be trafficking drugs. Racial statistics on traffic stops began to be gathered as a result of his law suit to avoid such practices from continuing. Throughout the 90s there were many organizations aggressively debating and litigating these issues, as well as conducting statistical analysis to try and quantify the effect it has on the black community. Unfortunately after 9/11/2001 Judges became much more deferential to law enforcement, in the interest of national security, and some of the progress made in the 90s has been rolled back somewhat. Perhaps, now is a good time to start looking into it again, rather than continuing to defer to the police, who -- while they are often good, idealistic people, they are also financially interested so not terribly objective. Of course they will argue that arrests are good for society in general. It increases their opperating budget. You may not think Gates is "special" but to me, he is indicative of one more unnecessary arrest that is not making us safer, and as a matter of policy, I have to ask, why are taxpayers so tolerant of this type of waste? There were something like 7 cops at his house that day. Why not demand police have a more compelling reason before they arrest people...ANY people.
  7. I realize that my estimation of summer stipends is far too high. 2500 dollars seems to be more in the ballpark. It seems a little amazing to me that this amount of money can make someone so resentful of the "preferential treatment," minorities get, that an educated, curious person can not even bring themselves to consider that, in situations completely unrelated to the University and Academia, the Constitutionally protected rights of black Americans are frequently violated, disproportionately to white Americans, in law enforcement situations. If you believe there is nothing to this argument, please google "Tulia, Texas" and "Hearne, Texas" together with "civil rights violation" or check out this link: http://www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/racialju ... 50602.html I'm not really sure why 2,500 dollars summer stipends erase the need to even discuss such issues or raise concerns or suspicions of a seemingly illegal arrest, but I'm sure someone will chime in to educate me. I would think such a money conscious person would be more outraged at the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars in the federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program that is given to law enforcement, when their arrest policies often do not make the community safer, only necessitate more of YOUR government's money be spent on housing falsely arrested primarily young, black men. (As always, I feel compelled to point out that white people, high class people, wealthy people, etc. should not make the mistake that the erosion of one groups' rights does not, ultimately, erode everybody's rights, by failing to reign in law enforcement as a matter of policy and hence investing too much unnecessary authority in the individual police officer, who may in any given situation be a very good man, or a very bad one.)
  8. Hi Poorstockinger, Welcome. Thanks for adding your perspective. This is definitely a multi-layered issue. I agree with your observation that class and poverty is part of what defines "identity" and "identity of others": You are in the History faculty, so perhaps Marxist theory isn't as prevalent there, but it is often discussed in Literature facuties (English as well as French, German, Russian, etc - mostly European Lit). This type of theory deals primarily with class and inequal wealth distribution and it's effect on the individual. I don't really agree that the thread should be shut down, and I for one, don't take Minnesotan's comments personally. I hope that he doesn't take mine personally, though I can see I am making him quite angry (maybe frustrated is a better word), even though it's not my intention. Difficult discussions are difficult to have, but, even if I never agree with him, and he never agrees with me, each of our point of views may be somewhat clearer, just by having the discussion. I think it's interesting that the "affirmative action" discussion cropped up on this thread, because it has NOTHING to do with whether or not Gates was "disturbing the peace" or not and should have been arrested. Yet, it seems to be somehow related, perhaps even central, to the way that some people view the incident. That is an insight I never would have had without this discussion, because I tend to see the incident within the framework of 4th Amendment rights only.
  9. Not sure who you are talking to. I am white, and, because I too couldn't afford to go directly to grad school after college, I worked for several years so that I could support myself in school. The fact is, the money apportioned to stipends is quite small, compared to what you would earn waiting tables, working as a home nurse, massage therapist, dental hygenist, hair stylist..etc. I know several people who have funded their PhDs after first getting the minimal required training required for one of these careers with pretty high earning potential and flexible hours. I'm just suggesting that, rather than being blinded by racial jealousy and entitlement issues, think outside the box.
  10. Really? Then why are you whining about power differences? Why don't you leave the primarily government subsidized world of the University, and go get yourself a real job then, if what you need is money? Why do you think the only way to earn money is waiting for the University to apportion it to you? Why do you consider it YOUR money to be taken away from you in the first place? If you would like to make some of YOUR own money, there is a "professional" section on this blog, maybe you should visit it. This is REALLY not a pull-your-self-up-by-the-bootstraps mentality. I'm a little dismayed that a rhetorician like yourself, will fall for letting the country be so easily divided on the issue of "race" or "reverse racism" by letting yourself believe that YOU are the unlucky one. You will happily support the position that the police are "keeping us safe" when they arrest Gates, because he was rude by categorizing that "rudeness" as playing the race card. Because you don't feel "appreciated," you aren't willing to stand up for the right of any American to say whatever they like in their home, after the police have seen Identification and have no legitmate reason for remaining in Gate's home, and that's sad. How much was that summer stipend you were denied? 9,000 dollars? 11,000? is that all it takes to aggrieve you to the point where you turn your back on caring whether huge swathes of Americans are deprived 4th Amendment rights?
  11. And yet, Gates was arrested, but not charged. Racial profiling in the legal context is an argument related to the 4th Amendment, specifically, what are called "stop and frisk" situations. Officers have a margin of discretion based on a "probable cause" standard to stop citizens on the street if their "training and experience leads them to reasonably think that person is committing a crime." Over time, this discretion has been expanded to allow "frisks" or "pat downs" that are justified by an officers need to be safe when questioning a possible criminal. There is endless case law defining the scope of a "pat down" whether it has to be over the clothes, can it be under a jacket, etc. without violating the 4th Amendment. When people are stopped under the reasonable suspicion standard in their cars, the "frisK" rationale of officer safety has been expanded to allow cursory searches of the car. The "plain view" standard is generally allowed, and then there are often factual disputes about whether something found was really in plain view, or if an officer physically uncovered the found item. Then there is the ever popular, "can you open your trunk sir" which officers often claim was "assented to." This wide margin of police discretion, what impressions trigger an officer's "reasonable suspicion" and what factors cause an officer to exercise this discretion is what is specifically looked at, analyzed and criticized in terms of "racial profiling." These are the abuses that racial profiling deals with, arguing that if blacks are stopped more often, patted down more often, taken into custody more often without any basis, initially the process of booking them, searching their posessions in order to inventory them, will lead to more African-American's being charged with low-level crimes such as possession of drugs, some kind of weapon, etc. In Gate's case, it is harder to make the case that the police engaged him in the first place because of profiling. Many argue that the decision to arrest even after he was established to be rightfully in his house is "profiling" but I'm not sure I'd call it that, even if it were racially motivated, but only based on formal legal categorization and the different nature of statistical arrests that are typically studied for "profiling" arguments, since officer Crowley responded to a call an it is the selection of a "probably suspect" based on officer discretion that is specifically studied in statistics on profiling. Still, I can see where any wrongful arrest would get lumped into this category by laymen. You seem very comfortable with the idea that there are more black people in jail because black people commit all the crimes in the world. If you think about it, you may start to understand why there was a bit of an uproar in the black community when Michael Phelps was photographed and widely witnessed smoking mariuanna and it was not an issue, yet there are many black people in jail who were stopped on some vague suspicion of wrong doing and patted down and charged with marijuana possession. Similarly, Bernie Madoff's recent interview, where he wonders aloud why he wasn't arrested sooner for what seemed like a pretty obvious scheme, has to get you wondering a bit. Gates was arrested and released with no charge, but many less prominent false arrests lead to a plea on some other charge when biased exercise of discretionary arrests meet inadequate legal representation. Being deprived of liberty is very different than not getting the government subsidized job of your choice. Not getting your summer TAship is not "racial profiling" in the sense that it threatens to lead to more frequent incarcerations for you or people who look like you on illegal grounds. [being excessively comfortable with other Americans being deprived of these rights may eventually lead to someone like you getting caught up in some broad, discretionary arrest, however, even though you are convinced that black people commit crimes and only people who commit crimes go to jail. Even people who don't commit crimes go to jail if citizens are not always questioning the limit of police authority over ALL Americans.] Though it may seem unfair to you and your personal success that there are not as many government grants awarded to white men, there is an interest for universities to have a diverse set of view-points. Qualifications are not all objectively measurable, unfortunately. I'm sad to learn that when I start at the University, there won't be any white men at all to be found there. What's that? Oh, apparently there are still a few, yourself included.
  12. As for Minnesotan's echo of the Limbaugh "ditto-head" meme: I'd like to remind you that this is not communist China. You can get jobs without appealing to the government. You are even allowed to be self-employed, if you are clever enough to recognize that you have a marketable skill. Most immigrants recognize that this market is still accessible to everyone in America, and so they flock here in droves with whatever skills they have, from all over the world to work hard at running their own stores, restaurants, cleaning services, nail salons, mechanic shops, import-export businesses, etc. However, there are a small portion of jobs which make up the entire economy, that are indeed government created, and the government has decided, after considering many studies on racial inequality of income/education over the last few decades, that underrepresented minority groups will be promoted through these positions. Don't consider it so much that the government has taken these jobs, grants and scholarships away from you, rather, the government has intentionally created them for someone else, after deciding it would be in the intrest of the common good to do so. Since you were never awarded the job/grant/scholarship originally, it wasn't "taken" from you. You may feel that you're entitled to such a "freebie" but your right to a specific one never vested. If you feel that a career in scholarship, a predominantly government subsidized market, does not offer you the kind of opportunites for economic advancement that you would like in the form of sufficient "freebies" set aside for you and only you, perhaps you can take advantage of the good education you've already received, make an honest assesment of your own personal skills and get what even academics sometimes refer to as "a real job."
  13. The Fourth Amendment is the "text" that I am trying to put into context with my discussion of Gate's arrest: To a lesser extent, I am commenting on the 1st Amendment and the 14th Amendment, as well as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution in their entirety, as well as all the susequently written case law that is meant to ellucidate them, but I'm focusing primarily on the guarantee of security Americans find in the 4th Amendment and I'm discussing how these promises are interpreted by different groups of Americans. Now, you could say that the Bill of Rights is not literature, but rather a legal document that is referred to and understood in a discipline-specific way by lawyers. That is one level of interpretation, to be sure, but most every American, whether legally trained or not, has heard of the 4th Amendment, and whether they have ever read it or not, they have a sense of what it means, it influences their culture and understanding of culture, what rights they have as a result of it's existence, and what their proper conduct should be and what the police's proper conduct should be...at least, they think they do. It is this level of "interpretation" that I consider literary analysis. The individual interpretation of rights is formulated in much the same way an understanding of myths or fairytales or folklore are formulated, through imprecise oral discussion, through family traditions, through discussions within the community, and a person's individual understanding of its meaning through these informal interactions is a crucial building block to a person's notion of culture and identity. What I found interesting in discussing Gate's arrest with white friends who are laymen, (not lawyers) and have never been arrested is that they have an understanding of this text that goes well beyond what is written. If I ask about the "4th Amendment" specifically, they will all agree, no one should be arrested in their house. Many mention "without a warrant" because Law and Order and NYPD Blue type shows have taught the layman American much about interpreting this text that few read. But when you change the question and ask specifically about propper conduct with the police, all will say "you have to comply do whatever they ask." Now, of course, I could walk this back and ask questions about increasingly unreasonable things an officer might ask, and at some point, they will say, "no, of course, you don't have to "X"(write them a check for 1,000 dollars, for example). But most start off from the premise of "full compliance." Many might even say, I would write them the check and dispute it later. While I agree that ideally, it is best to be polite and respectful of anyone you deal with, including the police, because of the nature of their jobs, they often catch people in emergency situations at times when they are not prepared or able to reach this ideal, (i.e., jet-lagged, cranky, dehydrated, sick, rushing to the hospital, etc.) Furthermore, this is an ideal, but it is not an accurate description of the law, because you do have the right to be cranky and still be secure in your home. The Fourth Amendment doesn't describe, "the right of people to be secure in their home, unless they are exceedingly cranky." Black Americans have a different subjective experience and a different subjective understanding of this "text" and what promises and protections they are afforded by this "text" in reality. My point in beginning this thread, was that Gates in his various radio appearances and statements, didn't seem to be clinging to this "magical talisman" of American protection the way some other American might, such as a white American or a legally trained black American and I posed the question, whether a learned, successful, African-American intellectual like Gates considers the promise of these protections at all as a part of his national identity as an American. I've noticed that increasingly, black spokesman have come out for the Urban Defense League, the Southern Poverty Law Clinic and similar legal organizations devoted to "teaching" Constitutional Rights within urban communities, because it is important to get these ideas into everyone's vocabulary of what it is to be "American." So discussing this "text" in terms of it's interpretation among different "identity" groups and the role the text plays in defining that groups "identity" in the first place, is really the issue I wanted to discuss in more depth than an ordinary current events discussion might allow. One other thing I've noticed when speaking with people about this or even just watching the news, that white Americans, when they hear the possibility raised regarding racial profiling, will immediately begin to criticize Gate's own conduct in his house. Lawyers of any color I've spoken too don't tend to do this, however, they cling to the idea that he was in his house and that that is sancro-sanct, and they can't even get past that fact to be terribly interested in anything else. Many will say something to the effect of "well, whites would be arrested if they said this or that to a cop too." And this goes back to my first point in this post, that at some point, white Americans who are not lawyers have a fundemental misunderstanding or contradictory understanding of the 4th Amendment, whether they are asked the question in terms of the individual's personal rights, or the rights of the police. In the context of Gates, once race is brought up, the divide in white/black America will cause a white person to say, "Gates shouldn't have said this or that thing" in an attempt to attribute bad behavior to a group of "other" people, perhaps reassuring themselves that because they wouldn't act in such a way, their rights are secure -- not realizing, of course, that by even allowing this argument, they put their own rights as well as Gate's rights completely at the discretion of police. So, I am heartened to hear Minnesotan say: But I only hope that in a free country, Gates or Kfed2020 should be allowed to discuss their subjective experience of law enforcement in terms of race or any other subjective factor, without anyone - Black or White Americans- being side tracked from what is a fundemental pomise to all Americans, regardless of the differences in our subjective experience. If those rights are not claimed or actively denied to one segment of the country, it is not only bad for them, but it makes the entire country weaker. As for racial profiling and whether it exists, you might check out a film called "American Violets" that is based on the Civil Rights class action recently won by Regina Kelly and residents of Hearne, Georgia who were systematically targeted and incarcerated for drug offenses which the Prosecutor in Hearne knew to be false, in order to basically round up black people. A similar incident happened in 1999 in Tulia Texas, where 46 people, predominantly black were arrested in a pre-dawn raid for dealing cocaine and it was later shown to be a completely baseless arrest and in fact a conspiracy on the part of law enforcement. So "the race card" is not just a rhetorical flourish. It is not something invented to be pursuasive or dramatic. Text and stories can sometimes be used to convey information that describes the real lives of real people. "White Privillege" as I understand it, is not that you are showered with treasure and opportunity, so much as you are free from this type of interference from the arm of government that is ostensibly there to protect, not to persecute. ( I am perfectly willing to discuss the "trauma" of not being rich in America on a separate thread). In the mean-time, I can say that I certainly feel that I have my white privilege. Once I lost the accent of my grandparents, all that was left was my white skin. No one would question whether or not I was a full fledged American, even though I am decended from immigrants, and I've never been accused of being a "secret Hungarian" or a "secret Ukrainian" because my "Americanism" shows in my blue passport and my white face, unimpeachable to everyone.
  14. I'm really not the only person who would discuss such things in the context of Literary Theory. You may not study race/identity/power issues as part of your literary studies, but many do, and I was interested in those opinions, specifically. Several departments also expand literary discussion to the interaction of law/policy and power, identity issues, Columbia U for example. You may not go that direction, but many people study literature and lit. theory and study it in different ways. I never "threatened" to take my ball and go home, I just prefered to get the attention of literature grads with this discussion for my own personal curiousity. Now that it is in the Lobby, it will be more of a current events discussion, and there are already about 1,000 blogs in cyberspace discussing this issue in that way. You can argue that, I argue to the contrary. Yes, there are, and we all have our own responsibility to deal with these, sometimes, as a cultural sub group, we discuss our collective trauma. Sometimes, we organize sub-departments within English departments. Right, though I didn't specifically address you, I hoped that people who didn't much care about this issue would just not comment, not chime in to say something like "Gates thinks he's too good to meet his neighbor" when, as the case happens to be, the woman who called 911 worked in the neighborhood, didn't live there, which, if you were interested in this story, instead of sick of the story, you might have known. So I just don't want to make work for you as moderator, and clarify that I don't expect you to necessarily comment on every single thread, even if it bores you.
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