Thread: Supposed Crimes of the Mind
#1 Supposed Crimes of the Mind07-11-2013, 05:56 PM
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE www.nationalreview.com PRINT
July 11, 2013 12:00 AM
Supposed Crimes of the Mind
With hate speech, it’s the perceived ideology of the perpetrator that matters most.
By Victor Davis Hanson
When do insensitive words destroy reputations?
It all depends.
Celebrity chef Paula Deen was dropped by her TV network, her publisher, and many of her corporate partners after she testified in a legal deposition that she used the N-word some 30 years ago. The deposition was made in a lawsuit against Deen and her brother over allegations of sexual and racial harassment.
Actor Alec Baldwin recently let loose with a barrage of homophobic crudities. Unlike Deen, Baldwin spewed his epithets in the present. He tweeted them publicly, along with threats of physical violence. So far he has avoided Paula Deen’s ignominious fate.
Does race determine whether a perceived slur is an actual slur?
Some blacks use the N-word in ways supposedly different from those of ill-intentioned white racists. Testimony revealed that the late Trayvon Martin had used the N-word in reference to George Zimmerman and had also referred to Zimmerman as a “creepy-ass cracker” who was following him.
Some members of the media have suggested that we should ignore such inflammatory words and instead focus on whether Zimmerman, who has been described as a “white Hispanic,” used coded racist language during his 911 call.
Actor Jamie Foxx offers nonstop racialist speech of the sort that a white counterpart would not dare. At the recent NAACP Image Awards (of all places), Foxx gushed: “Black people are the most talented people in the world.” Earlier, on Saturday Night Live, Foxx had joked of his recent role in a Quentin Tarantino movie: “I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that?”
Foxx has not suffered the fate of Paula Deen. He certainly has not incurred the odium accorded comedian Michael Richards, who crudely used the N-word in 2006 toward two African-American hecklers of his stand-up routine.
Yet whites at times seem exempt from any fallout over the slurring of blacks. Democratic Minnesota state representative Ryan Winkler recently tweeted of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s vote to update the Voting Rights Act: “VRA majority is four accomplices to race discrimination and one Uncle Thomas.” Winkler’s implication was that four of the jurists were veritable racists, while Thomas was a sellout. After a meek apology, nothing much happened to Winkler.
Winkler’s “Uncle Thomas” racial slur was mild in comparison to the smear of Justice Thomas by MSNBC talking head and African-American professor Michael Eric Dyson, who made incendiary on-air comments invoking Hitler and the Holocaust.
Does profanity against women destroy celebrity careers? Apparently not.
TV talk-show host Bill Maher used two vulgar slang terms with reference to Sarah Palin, without any major consequences.
Those Palin slurs were mild in comparison to late-night television icon David Letterman’s crude riff that Palin’s then-14-year-old daughter had been impregnated by baseball star Alex Rodriguez.
In contrast, when talk-show host Rush Limbaugh demeaned activist Sandra Fluke as a “slut,” outrage followed. Sponsors were pressured to drop Limbaugh. Some did. Unlike the targeted Palin, Fluke became a national icon of popular feminist resistance.
So how do we sort out all these slurs and the contradictory consequences that follow them?
Apparently, racist, sexist, or homophobic words themselves do not necessarily earn any rebuke. Nor is the race or gender of the speaker always a clue to the degree of outrage that follows.
Instead, the perceived ideology of the perpetrator is what matters most. Maher and Letterman, being good liberals, could hardly be crude sexists. But when the conservative Limbaugh uses similar terms, it must be a window into his dark heart.
It’s apparently OK for whites or blacks to slur the conservative Clarence Thomas in racist terms. Saying anything similar of the late liberal justice Thurgood Marshall would have been blasphemous.
In short, we are dealing not with actual word crimes, but with supposed thought crimes.
The liberal media and popular culture have become our self-appointed thought police. Politics determines whether hate speech is a reflection of real hate or just an inadvertent slip, a risqué joke, or an anguished reaction to years of oppression.
Poor Paula Deen. She may protest accusations of racism by noting that she supported Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns. But the media instead fixate on her Southern accent and demeanor, which supposedly prove her speech was racist in a way that utterances by the left-wing and cool Jamie Foxx could never be.
We cannot forgive the conservative Mel Gibson for his despicable, drunken anti-Semitic rant. But it appears we can pardon the liberal Alec Baldwin for his vicious, homophobic outburst. The former smears are judged by the thought police to be typical, but the latter slurs are surely aberrant.
The crime is not hate speech, but hate thought — a state of mind that apparently only self-appointed liberal referees can detect.
— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His latest book is The Savior Generals, published this spring by Bloomsbury Books.
07-11-2013, 09:43 PM
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Larry Elder on the same basic topic:
If Paula Deen is out, what about Maher and Sharpton?
If celebrity cook Paula Deen is out because of her decades-old private use of the “n” word, what about its public AND private use by MSNBC’s Al Sharpton? What about HBO host Bill Maher’s use of the “c” word?
The crisis Deen must deal with confirms the observation of a former editor of the conservative magazine National Review. “White racism exists,” said John O’Sullivan. “But its social power is weak; the social power against it, overwhelming.”
Deen has – so far – lost her show on the Food Network and her spokeswoman gig for Smithfield Foods. QVC, Sears, Wal-Mart and others are deciding whether to continue their relationship with the embattled chef.
What did the 66-year-old native of Georgia do that now threatens their enterprises?
In a deposition given in a harassment lawsuit filed by a white ex-employee at a Deen family-owned restaurant, Deen admitted using the “n-word” in the past, during a private conversation: “When a black man burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head,” she said, “I didn’t feel real favorable to him.” Deen says she didn’t use the word during the holdup, but “probably” used it later, “in telling my husband.”
Asked if she ever used the word again, Deen responded, “I’m sure I have, but it’s been a very long time.” When pressed to recall specific instances, Deen could not, saying: “I don’t know, maybe in repeating something that was said to me. … But that’s just not a word that we use as time has gone on. Things have changed since the ’60s in the South. And my children and my brother object to that word being used in any cruel or mean behavior, as well as I do.”
Deen has, so far, apologized, apologized and apologized.
That the ex-employee is white, not black, and worked for her for five years did not seem to matter. Nor does it seem to matter that others have not come forward to corroborate her alleged racism. Does she refuse to hire blacks? Has she mistreated them or paid them below the wages of white workers? And, for what it’s worth, Deen supported and campaigned for President Barack Obama.
If Deen’s crime is the private use of the n-word, why does the Rev. Al Sharpton, who hosts a nightly hour-long show on MSNBC, get a pass?
Sharpton, of course, rocketed to fame by falsely accusing two white men of raping and sodomizing black teenager Tawana Brawley. A New York grand jury investigation concluded that the whole case was fraudulent and that Brawley flat-out lied to avoid punishment for staying out too late. To this day, Sharpton refuses to apologize to former Assistant District Attorney Steven Pagones, one of the men Sharpton accused of rape, even after a jury found Sharpton liable for defamation.
One of Sharpton’s top aides became so disgusted with the farce that he turned against his boss. Sharpton, the former aide said, could not have cared less whether Brawley was telling the truth because, according to Sharpton, “We beat this, we will be the biggest n–gers in New York.”
Sharpton called the former Marine, magna cum laude graduate, lawyer, professor and then-Mayor David Dinkins – New York City’s first and only black mayor – a “n–ger whore.”
Apparently, MSNBC and the Food Network see the “n” word differently.
Sharpton has called Jews “diamond merchants” and described whites moving businesses into Harlem as “interlopers.” Sharpton helped incite three days of anti-Semitic rioting in Crown Heights, where two people died and over 100 were wounded. A Columbia University professor called Crown Heights “a modern-day pogrom.”
Then there’s Freddy’s Fashion Mart. A Jewish store owner in Harlem was accused of driving a black record store subtenant out of business by raising his rent. At one of many rallies meant to scare the Jewish owner away, Sharpton said, “There is a systematic and methodical strategy to eliminate our people from doing business off 125th Street. I want to make it clear … that we will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business.” Later, one of the protesters, a black man, stormed Freddy’s Fashion Mart with a pistol, screaming: “It’s on now! All blacks out!” In addition to the shooting, he set fire to the building, eventually killing seven before turning the gun on himself.
If Paula Deen is out because of the “n” word, what about HBO’s Bill Maher and his use of the “c” word?
Maher, on more than one occasion, publicly called former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin the “c” word. He has called her a “dumb tw-t” – a derisive slang word for female genitalia. He has described her son Trig, who has Down syndrome, as “retarded.”
But, to be fair, neither Sharpton nor Maher – at least to our knowledge – has called Palin the “n” word. That must explain it.
07-12-2013, 12:17 AM
Although to be complete, I believe Jesse Jackson's "Hymietown" quote pretty much tubed any chance he had of running for Prez or VP. It really didn't get the media slapdown it should have, but enough important donors decided he was not The Chosen One to blow that train off the rails forever.
07-12-2013, 01:32 AM
Larry Elder is right on the facts, but Hansen's argument, that the political ideology of the person who makes the offending statement determines the reaction, is the critical point. Paula Deen's conduct, according to the criminal filing, was reprehensible, but so was Alec Baldwin's (this latest incident comes on the heels of other slurs), but because Baldwin is a liberal icon, he gets a pass. Bob Packwood was accused of being a clumsy sexual harasser, but compared to Teddy Kennedy, he was a choir boy, and we all know which one was expelled from the senate. Basically, we've moved into the kind of political inoculations against consequences that used to be common in one-party states, where loyalty to the regime trumped innocence or guilt. It's thought crime, and it's how the left does business. Anyone here could find him or herself under attack for anything, no matter how absurd or trivial, for the real crime of being a conservative.
07-12-2013, 02:39 AM
Paula Deen aside, can someone name me the last time a famous liberal/minority lost their job over saying something stupid? I can't seem to remember any.Deplorably Proud To Be An American
07-12-2013, 09:37 AM
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- May 2008
- Northern Virginia
Anthony Weiner, assuming video is a form of speech..."Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
07-12-2013, 02:27 PM
07-12-2013, 11:51 PM
The only bunch of leftists who said something controversial and paid a dear price were The Dixie Chicks. They were on top of the country world until they chose to demean Bush in a foreign country and the country fans made them pay.Deplorably Proud To Be An American
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