Racial profiles

What happens when journalism gets too real? ‘Philly Daily News’ Ponders Photo Controversy. The paper ran a spread on the city’s at-large murder suspects and two of them got caught. Unfortunately, the suspects were all the wrong color. The paper had to apologize in response to a flood of angry phone calls and emails, as well as demands from black leaders for editorial heads to roll. In her apology, the managing editor said it was a mistake to run the photos without addressing why none of the suspects were white. I’m sure that would have helped—nothing like a full and frank discussion of these issues to soothe ruffled feelings. The best comment on the situation was made by a Daily News columnist: “The capitulation of the Daily News does nothing but prove that, as a society, we remain unwilling to broach any subject that involves substantive dialogue about race.” I can’t help but wonder if that columnist fully understands just how impossible such a dialogue is.

6 thoughts on “Racial profiles”

  1. What the Right therefore
    What the Right therefore needs to do is use left-wing buzzwords to its own advantage. These buzzwords after all were used successfully by the radical Left to infiltrate and control the political and cultural institutions of the West. Words are important to the struggle. Take the word “diversity,” widely ridiculed by mainstream conservatives. But why can’t “diversity” be used in support of a separate Euro-American nation and Euro-American culture? I think the French New Right grasped this decades ago.

  2. But the Pope gives speeches
    But the Pope gives speeches about how wonderful the UN and EU and Universal Declaration of Human Rights are because they advance human rights. I can’t help but think it would be better if he used “human rights” in a way far more plainly at odds with the way those institutions use the expression, and stopped acting as if what they intend is at all what he means by it.

    If the Right started using expressions like “diversity,” “tolerance,” “justice,” “equity” and “human rights in their own way it would at least put the meaning of the words in question so people might begin to think about the issues instead of assuming that all questions are pre-answered simply by pronouncing them.

  3. Its a good point, but I have
    Its a good point, but I have a difficult time seeing how this could be done honestly. If we are forthright and explain what we are doing—that we are altering our use of terms on purpose to try to find some approach to using them in a right-wing way—then it seems self-defeating. If on the other hand we play literally the same game as the left then we become charlatains and fools. I don’t know how we can be on the side of truth without just doing our best to forthrightly tell the truth; and the truth is that those words are incoherent the way they are now used and that we will foment confusion if we try to reassign their meaning arbitrarily.

    I think the Pope believes he has found a way to do so honestly by calling the approach phenomenological. But I don’t think that really works, because such an approach—and really any attempt to control meaning through pure acts of will—is intrinsically nominalist, and nominalism ultimately leads to the denial of truth as such.

  4. But “justice,” “tolerance,”
    But “justice,” “tolerance,” “human rights,” etc. have meanings in English other than the left/liberal ones. Why let the Left legislate the meanings of words? I would be perfectly happy to make a speech saying “I stand for justice” and go on to develop the concept of justice I present briefly in my Conservatism FAQ ( http://www.counterrevolution.net/consfaq.html#18.1 ).

    Ditto for the other buzzwords. I don’t see anything devious about saying that “tolerance” is working for an overall system in which to the extent possible each develops and acts in accordance with his nature without dogmatic central control. Naturally the shape of such a system would be different for someone who thinks men by nature have transcendent goods than for a liberal. I don’t see anything strange though about the use of the word “tolerance” for a system that rejects administrative centralism and accepts a great deal of diversity of unplanned cultural traditions.

    Similarly I don’t see why “human rights” shouldn’t be understood as a statement from the standpoint of the individual of the conditions for a good society—whatever one thinks those conditions and that society are. Your point, which is a good one, is that language is not at the mercy of ideologues and their arbitrary purposes. But why is it inconsistent with that to retrieve good words from the Left?

  5. I don’t think it is
    I don’t think it is necessarily fundamentally inconsistent in every case, although as in previous discussion of “equal” I think it can be. In general the approach is likely to have the same sort of effect as the current president’s use of “compassionate conservative”. Granting that he is himself a modern liberal, the attempt nevertheless was to recover a legitimate virtue that the Left had managed to make synonymous with its own specific radical agenda. I think the overall effect has been to help rather than hurt the Left, though. It isn’t a great illustrative circumstance I’ll grant you but it validates the idea that prior to G.W. conservatism was not compassionate, and suggests that anyway he is being disingenuous and just hiding a mean spirited right wing agenda under nice words.

    So my concern—as with the Pope—is not necessarily (or certainly not exclusively) philosophical but is more practical and political. It is a prudential issue, though—this is one of those things I could easily be reading incorrectly.


Leave a Comment