When a Deal Is Not a Deal

The Atlantic Coast Conference has has reneged on its deal to host three post-season tournaments in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Inspired by the National Association for the Advancement of Cultural Poverty (the only thing I can imagine those initials represent), the conference has pulled out because South Carolina flies a Confederate flag at the Statehouse in Columbia. The legislators of the State of South Carolina did not decide to fly the flag after the ACC committed to the BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach, motivating some sort of response. In fact, it was after being bullied by the NAACP nine years ago that the flag was removed from the capitol dome and flown elsewhere on the grounds as a compromise.

Nonetheless, the National Association for the Annihilation of Constitutional Patriotism (I imagined another possible meaning of the initials, given that this was why the South had to raise arms against the Northern aggression in the Recent Unpleasantness) insists that anyone and everyone boycott South Carolina. It seems in more ways than one that when it comes to the NAACP, a deal isn’t a deal.

It is unfortunate that the NAACP has been able to bully the NCAA into meaning No Cooperation from African Americans and the ACC into Against Caucasian Culture. But that’s what they do. It’s based on the Marxist idea that you can’t advance one part of the population without pulling down another. That must be what it stands for: Neo-marxist Anger Against Conservative Politicians.

The ACC cannot blanket boycott South Carolina because Clemson University is one of its member institutions. However, what it does is consider each athletic venue on a case-by-case basis. It has given the NAACP veto power over any location it doesn’t like. The NAACP objects whenever an event is scheduled anywhere in the Palmetto State.

“Our baseball committee and institutional administrators awarded the championships to Myrtle Beach with the understanding that the event had the blessings of all parties within the state of South Carolina. It has become clear this was not the case,” commissioner John Swofford said. “It’s unfortunate that this miscommunication occurred, and since the original announcement, we have had productive conversations with members of the NAACP,” he added. “In the end, given the conference’s commitment to diversity, equality and human rights, our institutions have determined that this change should be made.”

This is open admission that the NAACP is a party that has to bless the actions of the ACC. Never Act Absent our Consent Party – I think we’ve sussed out the meaning of the initials now. The voiceover over near the end of college sports telecasts should now say, “Rebroadcast or retransmission in any form without the express written consent of the NCAA and the NAACP is strictly prohibited.” It is also a statement that South Carolina is not committed to diversity, equality or human rights because it recognises the historical realities of mid-19th century and doesn’t sweep them under the rug of revisionism.  The role of the ACC is also to take a political viewpoint and demand conformity to the mantras of the Left.

The deal that brought the ACC baseball tournament to the Grand Strand area of South Carolina would have benefited the people of Horry and Georgetown counties. Horry County is over 15% black. Georgetown County is nearly 40% black. Has walking out on the deal benefited them? National Association for the Advancement of… well no, clearly not. It obviously doesn’t stand for that.

Proud of Desecration and Theft

This is one of the  most outrageous things I have seen in a long time. Last Thursday, an Auburn, Alabama city councilman trespassed on graves in a cemetary and desecrated them. Then he stole from them. In broad daylight. In front of descendants of the those interred there. And he’s proud of it.  They are, after all, the graves of Confederate soldiers.

Arthur L. Dowell was offended when he saw the Confederate flags placed on the graves of veterans in preparation for Confederate Memorial Day, a state holiday in Alabama. His justification? “It’s offensive to me,” he said. “To me, it represents the Ku Klux Klan and racism.” So, Arthur Dowell’s complete lack of historical knowledge outweighs the law. That’s why he felt it was okay to snap the pole of the flag that was on Mary Norman’s great-grandfather’s grave as he was putting it into his car.

He stole four flags, but unlike most thieves, he didn’t hide his stash. He showed it off to the local press. Then he promised to go back for more.

Unlike the dastardly motives he assumes for those who were honouring their ancestors, he was quite open about his. “If I had my way, I would have broke them all up and stomped on them and burned them.” Seems to me that makes what he did manage to do a hate crime.

When local citizen complained that the police shold take action, the mayor issued a statement saying, “I believe it would be in the best interest of all involved to settle their differences privately.” Is he suggesting that in every case of theft and criminal damage, the police should not uphold the law? Or is it just when it also constitutes a hate crime that doesn’t happen to be against blacks? The only appropriate description of the mayor might cause this blog to get blocked by some filters, since it refers to the poo of certain farmyard birds.

I’m not admitted to practice in Alabama, but it appears to me that Dowell should be charged with violating Alabama Code 13A-7-23 (Crminal mischief in the third degree), 13A-7-23.1 (Desecration, defacement, etc., of memorial of dead), 13A-7-26 (Criminal tampering in the second degree), 13A-8-5 (Theft of property in the third degree) and 13A-11-12 (Desecration of venerated objects).

It appears, however, that political correctness will be the deciding factor and he will not be charged with anything. Not only that, but despite the overwhelming disapproval of his actions, he will probably get re-elected because he represents a ward that was gerrymandered to insure a specific racial representation.


No News is Old News

I suppose with the economy so bad, everyone too poor to make any real news. That must be the reason why Prince Harry has been at top of the news here.

I have to admit that I have been kind of amused at it all. The News of the World (Britain’s most salacious Sunday tabloid) broke the store, complete with accompanying video coverage, that Prince Harry used the word “Paki”. This is the British equivalent of the “N word”. BBC News picked it up and ran story after story, while at the same time running it blow by blow, over and over, on the tickertape at the botttom of the TV screen.

You would have thought he had been caught making a verbal racist attack. Actually, he used it to refer to a military cadet colleague, calling him “our little Paki friend” in his presence.  It was captured on a home video that someone decided to sell to the paper. You would have thought this was hot off the press – Saturday night’s party turned Sunday’s news. It happened three years ago.

That’s right. Nonetheless, Harry had to issue a very prompt and grovelling apology.  As we know, there are sins, and then there are some things almost unforgiveable, like unintentionally given offense to unrelated third parties by using a remark that someone (who really had no business seeing someone’s home video) three years later could interpret as racist.

Harry’s commanding officer is to give him a formal dressing down and the Prime Minister has had go on national TV and say he believes the Prince’s apology. Of course it isn’t good enough for some people. Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Abbasi, the father of Harry’s friend said, “Prince Harry should apologise to the Pakistani Army and to the Pakistani government for this. I cannot accept his apology unless they first accept his apology.” That’s right. If you insult any Pakistani anywhere in the world (even if they aren’t actually insulted) you need to apologise to the Pakistani government.

Guilty Without Association

I don’t like the views of the British National Party. In fact, I find many of their views reprehensible.

In fact, the only thing as bad as the BNP is the persecution of BNP members.

There has been a leak of the BNP’s membership list and it has been published online. It included names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and in some cases employment. This will put jobs at risk due to political affiliation.

The place of the BNP in British politics is a bit like that of Communists in 1950s America. It is the forbidden party. Because of that, witch hunts are allowed.

Police officers who are members of the party can be sacked from their jobs.  As revealed by the Daily Mail, they can commit crimes while employed by the police (including benefit fraud, gun crimes, drug crimes, assault and theft) and keep their jobs. This is not seen as being incompatable with their job. They are protected by Government rules called Police and Misconduct Regulations which treats them differently form the general public. However, being a member of the BNP conflicts with the force’s duty to promote race equality and that means they can be summarily dismissed.

Stuart Janaway was with the Greater Manchester Police for 14 years, until last month. There’s no indication he was anything but a good cop. That was until he was accused of wearing a BNP badge at an England football match. Well, it wasn’t actually a BNP badge, but it was also worn by BNP members.

Janaway is not and has never been a member of the BNP, but that doesn’t matter. In fact, the BBC, the Mirror, nor Manchester Evening News’ main outlet bothered to mention that bit. Some outlets ran the story with a picture of an actual BNP candidate badge (every candidate for Parliament wears a party badge during the announcing of the election results), implying that this is what Janaway was wearing. To find out that Janaway isn’t a member of the BNP, you actually have to go to the MEN-published Asian News. In a surprisingly sympathetic approach, the Asian News noted:

A police spokesman said there was no evidence that he was a member of the BNP.

Acting Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney, head of the Professional Standards Branch, said: “The Chief Constable’s Order of 2004 makes it clear officers are banned from being members of the BNP. This requirement extends into the private lives of officers.

“All officers and staff are aware that non-compliance will likely result in dismissal. The officer failed to live up to the high standards we demand.”

One source said: “The swiftness with which this matter was dealt with indicates that GMP will not tolerate such breach of police regulations.”

In 1998 Mr Janaway hit the headlines when he helped treat a shooting victim. He also saved a number people intent on committing suicide.

That’s right, the police said both that there was no evidence he was a member of the BNP, but that since officers are banned from being members of the BNP, being off-duty and wearing an emblem sometimes also worn by members of the BNP resulted in his swift dismissal and the loss of his pension.

In fact, it wasn’t even a police officer who reported seeing Janaway wearing the badge. It was a member of the public who had a grudge against him. Something even scarier? As another police officer noted, how did the police get a search warrant for Janaway’s house because of something that did not constitute a criminal offence?

Is it any surprise that the BNP are a little angry the personal information of their members has been published?

Necessary Intention

Following on my previous post, I have had further thoughts on the use of language.

Without intention, language has no meaning.

In my teaching I often refer to the Shahadah – the statement of faith that is the first pillar of Islam. Saying it publicly is a requirement for becoming a Muslim. I say it publicly all the time, but that does not make me a Muslim, because I have no intention of becoming a Muslim.

I can read the Liturgy aloud and this does not transform any bread and wine present, even if it is on the Holy Table, into the Most Precious Body and Most Precious Blood. Even if I was a priest, this would still be the case. Nothing would happen. There is no intent.

Likewise, I can use unacceptable language and if I do not have an unacceptable intention, it is not evil. I do not punish my children if they say a swear word that they did not know was a swear word. When they said it, it was nothing more than an association of sounds. Once they know the meaning and that it is unacceptable, then they are liable.

Thus we arrive back at the things we call people. Further to my discussion in the previous post about the historic inoffensive use of the word “nigger”, the very extensive Wikipedia article about the word is quite useful.  Nomi, a commenter on the previous post, has a very interesting article of her own how to refer those who are bi-racial. I won’t go into the historic terminology and whether it would solve her quandry, but as a bi-racial person, she doesn’t include it amongst modern options.

I don’t know if it unique to matters of race and ethnicity, but it seems strange that perception overrules intention, even when a term is used outside the vocative case. I’m not sure how a group of people with common genetic characteristics decide that certain terms can or cannot be used, and particularly how they change they can the value of a term from acceptable to unacceptable in a matter of a few years.

Because intentional language has meaning, I will usually not use the term “African-American”, unless I’m referring to Barack Obama. As I’ve said before, most black people I know are American Americans. Their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and almost certainly as far back as their great-great-great-great-grandparents were born in the United States. They are not ethnically African. There have been attempts by some to re-Africanise with the adoption of faux-African clothing, African language names, and made up holidays like Kwanzaa (the celebration of communist principles made up by convicted violent felon Ron Everett) notwithstanding, their culture is entirely unrelated to and does not measurably derive from anywhere in Africa.

If people want to use it to refer to continent of ancestral origin, then I’m happy to use African-American if I am also using European-American to refer to people who ancestry can be principally traced to Europe. I wouldn’t use it for myself, because almost all of my ancestors for at least seven generations have been in the United States. I have the odd English ancestor who immigrated in the 1820s or so, but by and large my ancestors were in the US (or what became the US) for at least a couple of generations prior. I could refer to my children as European-Americans, because they are dual citizens of a European country and the US.

I think language should be accurate and avoid intentional offense. I also think it is important not to try to find offense.

Keeping History in Context

At the same time as the election of Barak Obama, in GCSE history we are covering race relations in the United States 1929-90. I’ve never taught this in an American school, but imagine the approach of the syllabus would be roughly the same. We look at the KKK, lynchings, Jim Crow laws, the effect of the Depression on blacks, segregation in the Second World War, Brown v. Board of Education, Little Rock, Ole Miss, Rosa Parks, MLK, and the key events of the Civil Rights Movement. The key idea is that white people, especially but exclusively Southern white people, hated black people (though we aren’t authorised to cover that they were only called “black” for a brief moment in time in the shifting language from Colored to Negro to black to Africa-American). Whites were mean and evil to them, but somehow the black people passively resisted all the white people and eventually Barak Obama was elected.  That last bit falls outside the time period, but it is too good to not mention.

I was commenting on another blog about the relationship between Obama and the legacy of slavery, an institution which the blog owner referred to as an atrocity, saying the same thing I told my students when introducing the background of slavery in the US: we have to be careful in imposing the values of the present day upon the past. People in the mid-19th century lived within a completely different frame of reference. It is very possible that people living 130 years from now will be tempted to condemn aspects of the present day which we cannot imagine would be any other way.

C.S. Lewis says as much in his well-known introduction to Athanasius’ On the Incarnation:

Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books. All contemporary writers share to some extent the contemporary outlook – even those, like myself, who seem most opposed to it. Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides were usually assuming without question a good deal which we should now absolutely deny. They thought that they were as completely opposed as two sides could be, but in fact they were all the time secretly united – united with each other and against earlier and later ages – by a great mass of common assumptions. We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century – the blindness about which posterity will ask, “But how could they have thought that?” – lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth.

Thus I think about my cousin Melba. Melba was my dad’s first cousin, born in Kentucky in 1915. I got to know her before she died and I don’t think there was an unkind bone in her body. I don’t think I ever heard her speak an unkind word.

Melba and her husband were tobacco farmers. Her husband had died not long before I met her as an adult (we had visited in their home when I was a very young child) and she was winding down the farming. Being the family genealogist that I am, you can imagine that I took in every story I could about living through the 20th century as a tobacco farming family. Tobacco farming is very labour-intensive. Melba spoke with affection about the niggers that worked for them, especially one man who worked for them for many years.

My late 20th century ears were a bit shocked at first. After all, this was a word for which I received corporal punishment from the school principal when I was in the second grade back in 1972. (In my defense, even then, I didn’t habour any ill feelings for the black pupil. I was only saying it because my friend Scott was saying it, but it was a offense of strict liability.) Then she referred frequently to a nigger woman that had been her domestic help until recently.

I don’t for a minute think that she thought of any of these people as equals. But neither did she habour any ill will. It was just the society in which she was raised. She probably supported segregation as long as it lasted in the Bluegrass State. I don’t remember her speaking about it in any negative way. That was just the way it was. On the other hand, I never heard her complain about integration. Maybe she did at the time, but by the time we talked, that was just the way it was.

At the same time we can be glad that everyone in the United States has the same civil rights and participation in the political process, and appreciate that common attitudes have changed, we need to be careful how we characterise the nature of those developments and the broad strokes with which we tend to paint history.

Evangelical Leakage

I was surfing around the blogosphere and I have been observing some of the evangelical leakage to the Democrats in this Presidential election. It seems to come from three main sources, the emerging church movement, the black churches, and the apathetic. As I was reading in blogs, especially in the comboxes, I was struck by several things.

First, there is the appeal Obama has because he talks about compassion and helping the little people, especially with the big people’s money. It is spiritualizing the politics of jealousy. After all, Jesus said we should take care of the poor. Jesus didn’t seem to like rich people very much and said they would have trouble getting into the Kingdom of Heaven. The thing the emerging Christian socialist church seems to have missed is that Jesus never said we should rob the rich to take care of the poor.

What I have seen of the emerging “missional” churches seems to be Marxist Mennonite, squishy Anabaptist pietism, drunk deeply from the well of Ronald Sider. Obama is seen as the pacifist, caring candidate, who has adopted the views of the great philosopher Rodney “can’t we all just get along” King.

These churches also seem to be suffering from foetus fatigue. The abortion issue, for a long time the very first litmus test, is getting boring to some. The emerging church is quite wrapped up finding ways to live the word of Jesus in the New Testament and since Jesus didn’t talk about abortion, this has become a side issue. The only problem is that Christians that believe the Bible, whether Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox (in other word, other than a small liberal fringe) recognise that abortion is murder. So it seems that mass murder is not the issue it used to be.

Then there are the black evangelical churches. These had been moving more and more toward the Republican Party because in a election between two white men, it was clear that while neither was perfect, the Republicans have stood for traditional family values and those issues which have been important to all evangelicals. They could see how uncomfortable white Democrats were when they were campaigning in black churches (something with which the IRS would have had a field day if it had been Republican candidates campaigning in white churches, but that’s for another time).

During recent elections, black and predominately white churches were joining together in various prayer gatherings and vigils. They were all praying for the election of candidates that reflected the same set of values.

Now there is a black candidate. As I have said before, he is someone who has nothing in common with them culturally. He is not a descendant of slaves or a victim of racial discrimination. But he is black, mostly because his supporters are suddenly happy to adopted the One Drop Rule, ignoring the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia. Like I have said before, unlike almost all of them, he is actually an African-American. Suddenly the possibility of having a man with similar skin tone in the White House is all that matters.

Sadly, I don’t think that the addition of Sarah Palin to the GOP ticket will swing either of these segments of the evangelical vote. However, she has and will continue to energise the apathetic. These were the ones who got excited about Mike Huckabee. These are the ones the Left really loves to hate. In fact, the more the Left  vent their hatred on Palin, the more energised these people get. They had no reason to get excited about McCain, but now they have one of their own. Hopefully this will stop enough of the leakage.