Monday, June 13, 2011

Politically Correct Beauty Pageants

I have very little interest in beauty contests, but I do have an interest in the suffocating miasma of political correctness that seeks to envelop all of American culture and social life, including beauty pageants. According to an article at Fox News Miss USA pageant contestants are now being required to answer questions about their beliefs concerning teaching evolution in schools and posing for nude photos:
According to Paula Shugart, President of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO), which also operates Miss USA, these “topics are very relevant and in the news.”
That they're in the news may be so, but what relevance does a young woman's opinion on teaching Darwinism in schools or her views on public nudity have to her qualifications for winning a beauty contest? None that I can see, so why ask about them? How would her answer affect her chances of winning?

A cynical observer might be forgiven for suspecting that these questions are intended to isolate and eliminate contestants who have strong religious commitments and values. Who else, after all, would be expected to object to either of these proposals?

Thanks to Uncommon Descent for the tip.

Hitler Plays Dawkins

On Saturday I posted on the difficulty debate organizers have had persuading atheist Richard Dawkins to debate philosopher William Lane Craig on the existence of God.

Here's a funny You Tube video that uses a film clip from a movie about Hitler - a clip that's been put to many similar uses over the last year or so - to make the point.
Thanks to Uncommon Descent for the tip.

Interracial Crime in Chicago

Chicago has recently been rocked by gang violence and crimes against innocent victims ranging in age from 14 to 68, and people are wondering why the Chicago Tribune omitted mention of one of the salient facts of the story. There was no mention in the original news reports of the races of the perpetrators and their victims and readers wanted to know why not. In response to their queries Times editor Gerould Kern offers an explanation, and several staff writers state their views on the matter here.

Kern writes:
We do not reference race unless it is a fact that is central to telling the story.

By all indication, these attacks were motivated by theft, not race. Further, there is no evidence to suggest that the victims were singled out because of their race. Therefore we did not include racial descriptions in our initial news reports.

There are circumstances when race may be relevant, such as describing a criminal suspect being sought by police. But this description must be accompanied by other detailed information, such as height, weight, scars, clothing, etc. By adhering to this practice, we guard against subjecting an entire group of people to suspicion because of the color of their skin.
I'm afraid this all seems a little lame to me, as did the thoughts of the paper's staffers on the matter.

There are at least two more plausible reasons Kern might have given as to why the Tribune does not mention the races of the thugs and their victims:

First, it'd be superfluous. There are certain crimes that one knows within a high degree of certainty when one reads about them the racial identity of the perps. If a report concerns white-collar crime or serial murder one can be fairly confident that the criminal is white. If the report is about violent gang crime, say, girls beating a victim in a MacDonald's or on a school bus, one is reasonably sure that the girls are black. Anyone who denies this simply isn't familiar with the logic of induction.

A second more plausible explanation is that the perps were in fact black, the victims were white, and newspapers feel a subliminal obligation to downplay black on white violence. I can't prove what I'm about to allege, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and speculate that were the thugs in these crimes white and the victims black the Tribune would have shown much less reticence about mentioning the races of the people involved. Indeed, if they didn't mention the races they'd have been accused of covering up an obvious instance of white racism. If a gang of whites had beaten a 68 year old black man I suspect the races of the parties would have then been "a fact central to the telling of the story."

Liberals, however, don't believe that there is any such thing as black racism, even though most of the racial animosity in this country today is directed against whites, and so when whites are victimized it simply doesn't occur to a liberal to think that race was a factor. Thus, there's a deep reluctance among liberals to call attention to black thuggery directed against whites but no corresponding reluctance to call attention to the racial nature of white aggression directed against blacks. Indeed, such crimes, on the relatively rare occasions in which they occur, often become national stories.

We have several serious social problems in this country, one of which is black violence (which stems largely from the breakdown of the black family which is largely a consequence of the Great Society welfare programs of the 60s and 70s). Pretending that race is irrelevant and sweeping it under the rug does nothing to help ameliorate the problems. The first step in any solution is clearly and definitively describing the nature of what we are up against. Violent crime in the U.S., including interracial violent crime, is largely minority generated, and we shouldn't cover it up or ignore it just because it's minorities who are doing it any more than we should cover it up if it were whites who were responsible.

Indeed, to treat people differently because of their race is the essence of what it is to be racist.