10/5/07

My brother's keeper and NPR

As I mentioned, I was on a Blogger's Roundtable Discussion on NPR's News and Notes, hosted by Farai Chideya. Here's the archive and blog of the show with a link to the audio.

Anyway, some random thoughts:

And I'm not responsible for the bad checks Megan Williams wrote, either...

* If I told you that six people had kidnapped and raped a woman for a week, would you need to know the race of the people involved to know just how outraged you should be? It seems that many racial activists and members of the chattering class need such information...

* White people in West Virginia are apologizing for the alleged abduction and rape of a 20-year old black woman by 6 white people. I feel absolutely no responsibility for the actions of criminals and lunatics, regardless of their race. As I said on the show, if I am really my brother's keeper and I am somehow responsible for what he does, then I want him checking in with me every 15 minutes so I'll know what he's doing. After all, I don't want to pick up the newspaper or get a phone call at 3 in the morning to find out he's in jail and wants me to bail him out.

* Let me be clear I: I don't mind that white people want to apologize for crimes they had nothing to do with. I just hope no one tries to hold me to the same standard when it comes to black criminals. Let me cut this off at the pass: No such apology is forthcoming.

* Let me be clear II: I don't mind that you might somehow feel responsible for the actions of lunatics and criminals who look like you.

* Let me be clear III: I have never cared for analyzing the "root causes" of crime. Criminals commit so many crimes for so many different reasons that it is a waste of time. And so many of them lack an explanation for what they did, I don't see how the alleged crime specialists, psychiatrists, and chattering class think they can figure it out. But I'll play along with it...Let's lock up the criminals for an extended amount of time, and let them explain to us why they did what they did once they get out...

* By the way, Chris Rock has the best explanation about why people commit crimes: "Why can't people just be crazy? Why does there need to be an explanation?"

* One thing that I hate about being a commentator is that I'm expected to comment on a bunch of stories that I have only passing information about. That's one reason I respect radio talk show host Ambrose I. Lane Sr. He is a socialist who would put me under house arrest if he had any power, but...during the Duke fake rape case, he didn't utter a word about it and rejected requests that he address it. As he stated, it was ongoing and once the case has been decided, there would be plenty of time to talk about it. But then, if you've ever listened to Lane's show, you know that breaking news to him is that a scholar has uncovered documents related to the 1898 Spanish-American War.

JOHN EDWARDS: The Criminal Returns to the Scene of the Crime

Among many things, the guy opens his campaign by starting his poverty tour in New Orleans, then it is revealed that he has a lot of money invested in a company that is foreclosing on poor people in the area. It seemed that his poverty tour was a case of a criminal returning to the scene of a crime.

He has now made a fool of himself by saying: "We start with the president of the United States saying to America, we cannot build enough prisons to solve this problem. And the idea that we're just going to keep incarcerating, keep incarcerating, pretty soon we're not going to have a young African-American male population in America. They're all going to be in prison or dead, one of the two."

I know the presidential candidates talk so much that they are bound to say silly things, so I guess I should cut him a break. But that is so patronizingly stupid that I won't...

As I concluded on the show: "Just one thing, if there are black men out there listening, please, the quality of your life should not depend on who is president of the United States. It shouldn't depend on which government programs he's able to implement. You're going to have to make your own way in this life."

Given more time, I would have added: And please don't listen to any damn fools--presidential contenders or commentators--who tell you otherwise.

* * *

A-ha! statistics

We were rushing through the final topics...but another thing we discussed is a new study finding that there are more black and Latino men in prison housing than in college housing.

This is a "try-try again" study. I recall a similar one finding that there were more black men in prison than in jail/prison...then someone else actually looked at the numbers and debunked it...

But taking them at their word...

this is the ultimate A-ha! statistic. The statistic is a random connection between things that have nothing to do with one another...unless you think those people in prison were on their way to college, and just got on the wrong bus...

There is no real finding. Nothing that explains how the prisoners and students got to where they are....just....A-ha!

* * *

Morehouse College

The final topic that we addressed briefly was about the new president at Morehouse College expecting the incoming freshmen to dress well. He didn't make it a pop quiz, he even gave them the type of jacket he wants them to wear...

I hope he also said, "And don't forget to study."

CJL

10/4/07

NPR Roundtable

I was on NPR's News and Notes again yesterday. The archive and blog about the show are here.

I'll try to post some random thoughts later on.

CJL