30 May 2011

African History in the U.S.--References

Regarding a request to provide some resources for those interested in the history of Africans in the U.S (North and South) before WWII, we present the following short bibliography, with comments to help guide you to something of possible interest.  

[Links provided where online versions are available.  Online libraries charging a small yearly fee are a treasure trove for such sources; we, for example, highly recommend Questia.]


25 May 2011

Crime, Today and Yesterday

Stories of looting leaking out of tornado-stricken Minneapolis recently have brought to light this 2007 article from Minnesota Public News, revealing two salient points about her sister city St. Paul's African-descended population:

     1) 70% of all St. Paul's aggravated assaults the year before were 
          committed by this population, although they make up just 12% of the 
          city's inhabitants.

     2) Surprise is the correct reaction to this.

          Being of passing familiarity with this particular branch of American jurisprudential history, we imagined it of possible historical interest to present excerpts from the aforementioned article, alongside some voices from the past [all emphasis ours; list of works cited follows the text]:

21 May 2011


"Your group, left to its own devices, couldn't build or maintain a livable society."


Hurts to hear.  Could you say it to someone?  Looking them in the eye?  "Your group just isn't equipped by nature with the ability to create a pleasant, safe, modern society.  If you want to live in one, the only way you'll ever be able to is by taking up residence in somebody else's.  If they let you."

Ouch, ouch, ouch.  Could I say it?  Sure.  Eye to eye?  

All I have to do is look in a mirror.

My group can't cut it.  If we were running things, as some wag has gently put it, the human race "would never have left the cave."

16 May 2011

Mothers and Welfare: Policy ideas

As we saw in our stroll down Dysgenics lane, there are good reasons a healthy society might want to avoid paying its least productive members to have children while taxing its most productive members to fund them.

Here we pull out our telescope and take a long gaze around the world, to see how other countries (or provinces, or towns) are dealing with the question.

Policy-makers should do the same.

10 May 2011


'Hope springs eternal.'

Truer words were never spoken of the inner workings of the Human Mind.

Polite fictions get us through the day.

'I'm still attracted to my spouse.'
'I enjoy my job.'
'I love all my children equally.'
'I'm special.'

We tell polite fictions to our children.

'With hard work, you can be anything you want to be.'
'You'll find true love.  There's someone for everyone.'
'When you die, you... go to a nice place.'

And so forth.

07 May 2011


Hard to find someone who'll argue this person isn't handicapped:

Butch Lumpkin is one of the approximately 5,000 [Thalidomide] survivors world-wide.  Born with what he calls “short arms,” he really has what amounts to no functional arms at all.  Three fingers extend from his left side in a flipper like manner, and his right arm ends before the elbow with three fingers that point backward toward his body. 

If your tears of pity are flowing, dry them watching Butch enjoy a round of golf followed by a brisk set of tennis.

Or this person--handicapped?

Three years ago Oscar Pistorius had never stepped onto a track, let alone run a race.  Today he is an athletics sensation - holder of world records in the 100m, 200m and 400m events.  His coach, Ampie Louw, says Oscar is "a natural champion - born that way". [...] But Oscar's Olympic bid is like no other - he is a double amputee.

I'd say so.

What about this person?

Sara Blakely had been selling fax machines and office copiers door-to-door for seven years when she had an idea for a clothing line that would transform her from an employee into a successful entrepreneur.  In 2000 she began selling Spanx in major department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. […]  Today, Spanx, based in Atlanta, Ga., is a $150 million company with 55 employees and 100 different styles.

Handicapped?  She probably doesn't think she is.   In this day and age, most people probably don't.

I do.

Because I have the same handicap she does. 

Can you guess what it is?

02 May 2011

Disparate Impact III

[Disparate Impact Part II can be found here.]
[Disparate Impact Part I can be found here.]

      Boxing has kindly shown us why weight classes are a Good Thing:

Featherweight / Lightweight / Middleweight / Heavyweight. =  Everyone gets to play.
All thrown in the ring together. =  Only one gets to play. 

      (And we already know who that is.) 

Low / Average / Bright / Very bright.  =  Everyone gets a job (or into college).
All thrown in the ring together.  =  Only one gets a job (or into college).

     Do we already know who that is?

In our parallel-universe Akron, Ohio, apparently, it's Asian-Americans.

But what about back here in the real universe?

Disparate Impact II

[Disparate Impact Part I can be found here.]

You're employed.

As an accountant at Winter Shoe Company in Akron, Ohio, and have been for a long time.  As long as you've been there, only People Like You—European-descended folks, that is—have worked there.


One day, for reasons unknowable, a wave of Chinese-Americans starts to flood into lovely Akron. Descendants of the railroad builders, let's say.  California exiles, driven off by sky-high taxes.  They've come to Akron, and they want to work at Winter Shoe Company too.   

Guess what?  

01 May 2011

Disparate Impact I

'That's not fair!'

One hears it often from the mouths of youngsters.  Universal justice has not been satisfied if I don't get one more cookie.  I was good, I deserve it.

Mom replies,

'Life isn't fair.'

It's a lesson we quickly forget.