December 10, 2008

See a black man? Call the police!

So, there have been some thefts on campus:
Investigating officers have released a description of a thief: a black man, 20 to 30 years old and about 6 feet tall, last seen wearing a wool hat, dark boots, a long puffy winter coat and black pants. Anyone seeing this person around the campus should call university police at 264-2677.
That's damned close to saying if you see a black man, call the police.

115 comments:

MadisonMan said...

If I see a black man wandering the halls of my building, I will stop and ask him if he needs help finding someone. I do that with whites, Asians and hispanics too. And with women.

As I'm not near many classrooms, people who don't work here really stand out.

ricpic said...

That's it, take away profiling (this isn't profiling, by the way, but it's what Althouse would like to make it out to be) and you'll really see a crime spree.

Palladian said...

I thought the election of Barack Obama meant that people could stop embarrassingly attempting to prove that they're not racists?

Ann Althouse said...

This isn't about profiling. This is a description of a particular criminal, and private citizens are asked to call the police if they see someone fitting this description, which is completely generic -- except the possible oddity of a man wearing a long puffy coat. It's 17° here. Everyone is wearing winter clothes. Anyone wearing a hat is wearing a "wool hat."

Hoosier Daddy said...

sigh

Hoosier Daddy said...

This is a description of a particular criminal, and private citizens are asked to call the police if they see someone fitting this description, which is completely generic -

Evidently Madison isn't as crime ridden as other parts of the nation because honestly, absent a police sketch, generic descriptions are pretty much par for the course.

A couple of years back in my neighboorhood we were notified of two Hispanic guys driving around in a white van who were trying to lure little kids in the vehicle.

Considering our neighboorhood was still under construction and 98.999% of the workers were Hispanic who generally drove in vans that narrrowed it down to a couple thousand suspects.

Shanna said...

That's a pretty thin description, but if you want to be charitable maybe they expected you guys to call in when they saw someone doing something suspicious like stealing that fit that description.

Still.

AllenS said...

Would it have mattered if the person was white? Why yes, it would. You could rule out black men.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

a black man, 20 to 30 years old and about 6 feet tall, last seen wearing a wool hat, dark boots, a long puffy winter coat and black pants.

Right....this could be any black man. An old short black guy with a beard wearing jeans and ball cap. A fat short young black guy in a three piece business suit. Yep....they all look alike.

junyo said...

I'm missing 7.7 trillion dollars. Be on the lookout for a gang of old white guys. And Nancy Pelosi.

mcg said...

I don't know what the demographics are in Madison, but I'm guessing that description eliminates about 98% of individual from consideration.

Rob said...

Would you be equally upset if it said a white man with the rest of the generic description?

I've seen instances where in the push for PC they've published a generic description like that but removed the race of the criminal thus making any and all males who fit a suspect.

Here's a recent news description:
"The robber is a man described as balding with brownish grey hair and in his 50s. He is about 5 feet 8, weighs about 170 pounds, and wears thick prescription tinted glasses." (source)
I guess there are some more details in this one but they've managed to remove the race from it for what reason I can't fathom.

Palladian said...

Are they sure it was a puffy coat and not a puffy shirt?

rcocean said...

Yes, and a "firefly" is damn close to being a "fire" - except it isn't.

Ann Althouse said...

"Right....this could be any black man. An old short black guy with a beard wearing jeans and ball cap. A fat short young black guy in a three piece business suit. Yep....they all look alike."

This is a campus, and virtually all of the students look 20-30 years old and dress in casual clothes -- and wear winter clothes in winter. As to the old "they all look alike" point, there's no way I'm relying on that, since the description contains no information about what the man's face looks like.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't know what the demographics are in Madison, but I'm guessing that description eliminates about 98% of individual from consideration."

On campus, that's probably right. But how does that make the black male students feel?

I remember years ago -- circa 1970 -- working in a dress department where we were told if a black person comes into the store, call security. Now, you can't support that policy, can you?

bearbee said...

I was upset about the emphasis of a wool hat.

It could esily have been polyester or an angora/merino blend with a little nylon ....

AllenS said...

"description contains no information about what the man's face looks like."

Would this help: Brown eyes? Big lips?

If that sounds racist to you, and I know it will, please feel free to describe a black mans face. I'm sure if the man had facial hair, it would have been reported. How about big ears, like Obama.

Twin said...

One of the strange limitations of human language is out inability to describe what people look like with any degree of precision or accuracy.

How many times have you tried to describe someone -- maybe a person who works in another department -- and been completely unable to describe them so the other person knows who you are talking about --even when they have seen the person many times?

The human brain is great at remembering different faces. In fact, it's likely a key survival skill refined over thousands of years of evolution. But we remain strangly limited in using language to describe what people look like.

jdeeripper said...

Ann Althouse said...I remember years ago -- circa 1970 -- working in a dress department where we were told if a black person comes into the store, call security. Now, you can't support that policy, can you?

You needed the The Schvoogie Buzzer.

bearbee said...

Lets hope any White House security policy is a bit more sensitive and demanding.

DBrooks17 said...

I just saw that guy this morning. He's my boss. I had no idea of this nefarious side to his, seemingly, decent character.

mcg said...

On campus, that's probably right. But how does that make the black male students feel?

That it sucks to look like a thief?

Give me a number. A percentage. If the description can eliminate X percent of the population, publish it, otherwise, don't. What is X? 98 seems pretty damn good to me.

pduggie said...

"warm smile and kind eyes"

mcg said...

Besides, if X is 98, then it doesn't automatically mean that the other 2% are gonna get targeted. The unwritten but assumed fact here is that you're on the lookout for people you don't know and/or haven't seen before that fit the description.

PatHMV said...

So what should the police do, Ann? Post no description at all?

Warning, folks, there's a thief on campus. We only have a vague description, so we're not going to give it to you. Just go ahead and be suspicious of everybody for a while.

I'm not just busting your chops, I'm really curious as to what exactly you want the police to do differently. Omit the skin tone from the description? Not give a description at all?

J said...

"On campus, that's probably right. But how does that make the black male students feel?"

The engineers and business majors probably feel like they want the thief caught. The humanities majors most likely feel like it ignores the root causes of crime and is just another symptom of oppression by The Man. Sadly, most of the faculty probably falls into the latter camp as well.

Listen to what you're saying Ann - you believe a salient physical characteristic of the crimnal can't be mentioned because it might offend someone. Do you really think that's rational?

bearbee said...

Twin said...

How many times have you tried to describe someone -- maybe a person who works in another department -- and been completely unable to describe them so the other person knows who you are talking about --even when they have seen the person many times?

After I read your comment I tried to describe the man next door who I see almost everyday. At best I could provide a very general description involving height, weight, age, coloring and style of clothing.

mcg said...

"Investigating officers have released a description of a thief: a redhead, 20 to 30 years old and about 6 feet tall, last seen wearing dark boots, a long puffy winter coat and black pants. Anyone seeing this person around the campus should call university police at 264-2677." That's damned close to saying if you see a redhead, call the police.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Issue paint chips for skin tone to officers taking descriptions from victims. You know, like the ones interior designers have.

"OK, we've got a suspect with a burnt-umber skin tone with a little acne on the loose. That's Pantone chip #... for those following at home."

mcg said...

Now, if he were wearing shorts---tackle every bastard you see matching the description! I mean, even if they're not the thief they're guilty of fashion crime.

SteveR said...

Living in southern New Mexico where the population is slightly over 50% Hispanic (and who generally look very different from Mexican immigrants/laboreres) its not uncommon to get the "Hispanic male, in his 20s, 5"9", 140 lbs, short brown hair, mustache last seen wearing a tee shirt and jeans"

That narrows it down to damn near everyone.

Titushadabaddream said...

If it was Corey Booker I would get a little tingle.

Ralph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph said...

There was a brouhaha in the 90's when some police force was caught saying "usual" over their radios for certain fleeing suspects. The shorthand made sense.

I agree asking people to call if they see a young black man is inartful. Why don't you flood them with calls?

Titushadabaddream said...

I am watching MSNBC right now and there is a black republican cross eyed man that could fit the description.

Titushadabaddream said...

How was everyone's morning loaf?

Cedarford said...

"description of a thief: a black man, 20 to 30 years old and about 6 feet tall, last seen wearing a wool hat, dark boots, a long puffy winter coat and black pants. Anyone seeing this person around the campus should call university police at 264-2677."

Althouse - That's damned close to saying if you see a black man, call the police.

I suspect Althouse would have no problem if the thief was described exactly as above, except was a white guy with red hair pulled into a ponytail.

Now, that might describe 100 white guys on campus, but with the added info on long, puffy coat, black pants, etc., plus non suspicious behavior - you may well reduce the possibilities down to 2-3 red-haired white guys on campus.

Like it or not, profiling is a logical defense measure for individuals, groups, and society to stop or catch criminals. And rather than work up in a mindless rage against this natural human behavior, as many blacks do, they should be the 1st to be tipsters and the 1st to rail against young male blacks for being 3% of the American population, but responsible for 38% of thefts, 40% of rapes. half of murders and strongarm muggings, and 58% of armed robberies.

Muslims worried about their group facing profiling and repercussion are now giving the majority of tips against suspicious, radical Islamists in certain British locales.
If your Madison thief was a redhead, I think you could be confident that the other redheads on campus would be the most observant in trying to detect who the guy was. And not seething, raging, against the police for mentioning the red hair and demanding other blond, brown, black-haired people on campus join their rage against police posting "ethnic info" in suspect descriptions.

And when PC wins out, you get the ridiculous from liberal media, organizations, or those cowed by PC liberals.

1. One of the Mumbai terrorists shown on security camera video firing an AK-47 into a mass of people was described by Reuters as "a suspected gunman".

2. Another media outlet said "It is unknown why the terrorists targeted an ultraorthodox Jewish Center. It could have been a deliberate act, or it could be that the people killed there were just unlucky victims of a random act, as the hotels and railway station seem more likely targets."
(We wouldn't want any speculation or profiling or assuming the guilt of a man filmed killing people - now, would we? Only the majestic Courts have the ability to determine such judgments...)

3. In DC, two men killed the companion of a blonde in the home they entered, then raped and beat her into a coma. The PC newspaper reporting the crime described her as white, slight, blonde, but in good shape and that would help her survival chances.
It described one suspect as 5'10" 200 lbs, very muscular, wearing a hooded gray sweatshirt, baggy nylon black pants, red designer sneakers, and a black "do-rag". He had brown eyes and a broad, somewhat flattened nose. The other "suspected" rapist-killer was assigned a redacted description from the police report as 6'2", 160 lbs, "medium complexion", with a goatee, dreadlocks, and one noticed gold inlay tooth. Wearing jeans, white T-shirt, DC WIzards jacket, and brown loafers.
My, my! Such a conscientious reporter.
Notice anything missing from her description of the suspects?

Darcy said...

I understand the sensitivity, but like other commenters here, I'd like to know what would be a preferable description?

Further, I think most people are smart and decent enough not to look at every black man on campus after reading this and think "Oh, noes!!! That could be him"

Cabbage said...

Hypothetical:

At what point is it sufficient to describe a criminal suspect solely by their race and sex?

For instance, law enforcement suspects a black male of robbing a gas station. Notably, this gas station is within a Fundamentalist Later-Day Saints compound, located in a very remote part of the American Southwest, and where everyone is white. At that point, is it really a stretch to say, "call us if you see a black dude"?

Same question, new facts: A large Coptic Monastery located in Harlem, NYC is robbed of several rare religious and historical artifacts. A description is sent out looking for "two white females, aged 20-30".

Or any other situation ... At what point does the overwhelming homogeneity of the local populace mitigate any concerns about profiling?

Methadras said...

If the color don't fit, you must acquit. Sucka.

Methadras said...

Ann Althouse said...

This isn't about profiling. This is a description of a particular criminal, and private citizens are asked to call the police if they see someone fitting this description, which is completely generic -- except the possible oddity of a man wearing a long puffy coat. It's 17° here. Everyone is wearing winter clothes. Anyone wearing a hat is wearing a "wool hat."


Well you know Ann, they say the same thing about Asians too. All rook rame.

siyeh pass said...

Now, if he were wearing shorts---tackle every bastard you see matching the description! I mean, even if they're not the thief they're guilty of fashion crime.

Actually I did see a guy shoveling his driveway, last night, in shorts. Shorts and Sorels - yes, he should be arrested.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

What is sad is that if they did hold all the black men in jail for 30 days, the murder rate would drop by more than half (not counting the increase in jail murders)since blacks are responsible for 54% of all non-negligent homocides.

Car thefts, robberies and burgleries would plummet, and it would mark the first time in decades in some areas that people could take a peaceful stroll around the block after dinner.

Nasty but true thought experiment.

Pogo said...

"Discrimination" is not always unnecessary. Rather, it is needed for survival. Whose fault is it that a huge minority of young black males commit crimes and spend time in prison?

You play the odds every day. I am, for example, never afraid of middle aged blondes. For safety reasons, however, being leery of young black males seems a most basic requirement.

It's simply foolish -and even deadly- to pretend otherwise. And it's white guilt and condescension that worries whether this is inordinate profiling.

Richard Fagin said...

I'm sympathetic to the view that the police take the wrongful position that "doing anything while being black" constitutes probable cause for arrest, but how many more gray-haired old white women do we have to strip search in U.S. airports, among other stupidities, to prove that we don't do that kind of racial profiling around here?

Lacking any other information to publish, however, what wrong did the newspaper commit? Hasn't anyone read a newspaper article or seen a TV news broadcast where the prepetrator's race is intentionally omitted from the story? The perp's race can be inferred in the same manner as the unstated political affiliation of elected officials accused of wrongdoing in Instapundit's "Name that Party" game.

paul a'barge said...

That's damned close to saying if you see a black man, call the police

No, it's not even close.

The only folks who are going to provoke a call to the police would be 6' tall black men between 20 and 30 wearing the described attire.

And if a very similar black man is interviewed by the police and has an alibi he's going to be let go summarily.

What would you have people do, give all black male criminals a free pass?

John Althouse Cohen said...

if X is 98, then it doesn't automatically mean that the other 2% are gonna get targeted. The unwritten but assumed fact here is that you're on the lookout for people you don't know and/or haven't seen before that fit the description.

The UW campus has 40,000 students. If the description fits 2% of the student body, but you rule out everyone you know personally, that's still going to leave you with about 2%.

John Althouse Cohen said...

Also, who's to say the thief isn't someone you actually do know?

dannyboy said...

That's damned close to saying if you see a redhead, call the police.

As well you should. He's probably an Irishman and you know they're all drunks. Probably stealing to pay for another bottle.

dick said...

What description would you support them putting out in order to catch this thief - or do you think it is just dandy to have thieves out and about doing their dirty jobs so that the black students won't have their feeling hurt.

traditionalguy said...

All the reasons for Profiling a suspect seem good and "rational". But the social comment Ann cites seems to be that there is also an implied fear factor attributed to the generic report of there being a Black Man on the loose. This results in black men's feelings that they are always fighting against negative stereotyping by the Authorities. The hope and change that elected Pres. Obama was mostly the hope to see this catch-22 changed.

knox said...

It is admittedly a vague description, but the cops would be negligent not to issue one. If the culprit is wearing the same clothes, then he could be identified. Certainly catching a thief is a higher priority than not offending someone?

And I'd venture that anyone bothered by this would pretty quickly be UNbothered if they were to become a victim of this thief... "a liberal mugged by reality" and all that.

Oligonicella said...

Ann --

"... since the description contains no information about what the man's face looks like."

Yes it does. He was black. That is a partial description. You are demonstrably wrong.


I don't know what the demographics are in Madison, but I'm guessing that description eliminates about 98% of individual from consideration.

"On campus, that's probably right. But how does that make the black male students feel?"

So, the presumed feelings of a minority trump catching a criminal?


"I remember years ago -- circa 1970 -- working in a dress department where we were told if a black person comes into the store, call security. Now, you can't support that policy, can you?"

Note - it is not 1970 anymore and the '70's weren't exactly all that intelligent a time.

Oligonicella said...

traditionalguy --

"But the social comment Ann cites seems to be that there is also an implied fear factor attributed to the generic report of there being a Black Man on the loose."

Other than the word black, can you point to anything generating that fear besides presumption or projection?

mcg said...

But the social comment Ann cites seems to be that there is also an implied fear factor attributed to the generic report of there being a Black Man on the loose.

Well then we're just gonna have to encourage more whites to commit crimes then.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I remember years ago -- circa 1970 -- working in a dress department where we were told if a black person comes into the store, call security. Now, you can't support that policy, can you?"

No but then again that's an entirely different situation. If there had been no theft and the cops had put out a notice to call them if they spot a black male between the ages of 20-30 then you'd have a point.

Hoosier Daddy said...

But the social comment Ann cites seems to be that there is also an implied fear factor attributed to the generic report of there being a Black Man on the loose.

This has become tiresome. I seem to recall Jesse Jackson commenting that when walking at night he is embarrased to be relieved when the footsteps behind him are those of a white person.

muddimo said...

"Academic gets mugged by reality"

David said...

This guy has moved to South Carolina and lives just down the street from me. He seems to have left the coat and the wool hat behind.

AllenS said...

Assault - EAST JOHNSON STREET AND PINCKNEY STREET, MADISON, WI, UNITED STATES
2008-10-11
"Two separate downtown sexual assaults involving members of the UW-Madison community were reported to the Madison Police Department during the weekend of Oct. 11-12. The first incident took place at 9:24 p.m. on Oct. 11 near East Johnson and Pinckney streets. The victim says the perpetrator pulled her from the sidewalk to a more secluded area, where he tried to sexually assault her. The victim was able to get away, and believes she saw the perpetrator running westbound on Johnson Street. The suspect is described as a male, African American, 25-35 years old, with short black hair, slender build, an earring in one ear, and wearing a dark colored T-shirt and jeans."

Should the race of this individual been brought to the attention of the public? It wasn't but a week or two ago that I mentioned a murder of a student in Madison. Does the university try to do anything about keeping the students safe? Or is it more important not to hurt someone's feelings?

junyo said...

And if a very similar black man is interviewed by the police and has an alibi he's going to be let go summarily.

That, my friends, is comic genius.

Roger J. said...

I find Professor Althouse's concern a bit misplaced--The fact that race and gender are mentioned does help sort out possible suspects; and while some may find "profiling" inappropriate, I think it is a useful tool in law enforcement and security operations. If you think otherwise, thats fine: you are to be commended on your enlightenment, if not your judgment.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

" But how does that make the black male students feel? "

1. Who cares how they feel if the description helps to capture a criminal. Should we stop looking for criminals because their demographic characteristics might hurt someone's feelings?

2. Maybe they should feel ashamed that a person of their ethnicity is committing crimes and it reflects poorly on themselves as a group.

3. Maybe they should be pissed about the same issues in item number two and do something about it.

4. Maybe they should feel that they should be part of a solution instead of being obstructive.

5. Maybe they should feel personal responsiblity when the perpetrator continues to commit crimes because their 'wittle' feelings might be hurt by the truth.....that a black man had committed crimes....and that that information was withheld.

PatCA said...

When I read your headline, I thought this was going to be a post mocking political correctness run amok.

Are you proposing leave the suspect's race out? This is absurd! I assume the person providing the description has been vetted and appears to be sane. So it's describing a suspect, it's not saying "suspect all black people who come in the store"!

save_the_rustbelt said...

Take out the race, so every young male can be a suspect, and presto we have equality.

Isn't equality great!

Hoosier Daddy said...

I have just come to the realization that since Professor Althouse is a rightwinger (Alpha & Doyle say so) this is obviously a vortex ploy.

Trooper York said...

I personally love it when black women shop in my dress store. They are my best customers. They have a sense of style and are willing to try new and even wild and different stuff. And they keep their children under control. If they bring their children or grandchildren to the store they make sure that they behave.

I hate liberal yuppie hipsters who think it's great if their kid rides a scooter in the store or try to smear chocolate on silk dresses. Who whine and complain and don’t know what they want and won’t try something new.

Give me an African American customer every time.

Of course I get along a lot better with working class black people than the professor does. I just follow them around trying to sell them a dress.

Glen said...

Perhaps authorities should institute celebrity look-alike factors in their descriptions?

Investigating officers have released a description of a thief: a black man, 20 to 30 years old and about 6 feet tall, last seen wearing a wool hat, dark boots, a long puffy winter coat and black pants. Kanye West-ish from nose up, Will Smith skin tone, Conan O'Brien mouth (but less crab-like). Anyone seeing this person around the campus should call university police at 264-2677.

traditionalguy said...

Do you remember what Catch-22 was: If your are sane about the danger s facing you, then you have no way out of going on your assigned mission. However, if you are insane, then you will not be wise enough to ask not to fly the mission. So any way you approach this matter you will in the end be sent to face a danger. That's our racial profiling catch-22. Call your motive "fear" or say it is your rational reaction to a real danger, but they've got 57% of the vote that gives authority to Gov't. that can send you on a mission and then you must do something dangerous . The new President has figured this out. Read his book [as Gen. patton sugested he did to learn about Gen. Rommel's tactics].Barack is exceedingly clever. I pray he remains on our side in the sea-change coming soon to our beautiful and safe America.We are surrounded by a murderous new world that sees the Jews and the Christians today as 70 years ago Great Britain and the USA were seen by The Nazi Third Reich and the Bushido Empire of the Sun. We are in their way. I fear we all could again be reading "Greetings -- you have been drafted."

Synova said...

It's not necessary to imagine how people will react. We don't have the facts, but there *are* facts.

Have the University Police lines been flooded with reports of sightings of black students that fit the description?

Or has everyone pretty much added a "acting suspiciously" or "carrying stuff out of a building" or "loading crap in a car" to the description?

And I do disagree with the idea that there are too many strangers on campus. Students and staff are still going to see the same people again and again because they go to the same places every day. But they'll pay better attention to those they don't recognize and particularly to anyone carting stuff off. Without a warning to be aware it's like someone pulling up a van and boxing everything in house down the street. You might think it's odd your neighbor didn't mention they were moving but the burglars aren't sneaking through a window at night so you don't call the cops. No one does.

Original Mike said...

I remember years ago -- circa 1970 -- working in a dress department where we were told if a black person comes into the store, call security. Now, you can't support that policy, can you?

"How 'bout a little fire, scarecrow?"

Shanna said...

Or has everyone pretty much added a "acting suspiciously" or "carrying stuff out of a building" or "loading crap in a car" to the description?

Exactly. I don’t think your going to get lots of people calling in “Bob in my chem class” or “Jay who works down the hall” because he fits a base description.

junyo said...

1. Who cares how they feel if the description helps to capture a criminal. Should we stop looking for criminals because their demographic characteristics might hurt someone's feelings?
Let's call that a valid point.

2. Maybe they should feel ashamed that a person of their ethnicity is committing crimes and it reflects poorly on themselves as a group.
...and white people should feel collective guilt over the various serial killers and insider traders that share their general skin melanin content.

3. Maybe they should be pissed about the same issues in item number two and do something about it. What exactly? Call a meeting of the Black Crusaders? Vote him off the island. Bleach him. What do white people do?

4. Maybe they should feel that they should be part of a solution instead of being obstructive.
Again, what "solution" other than the collective guilt of black people for any potential offense?

5. Maybe they should feel personal responsiblity when the perpetrator continues to commit crimes because their 'wittle' feelings might be hurt by the truth.....that a black man had committed crimes....and that that information was withheld.
So now, not wanting to be falsely accused or detained is equivalent to actually being responsible for crimes. Wow. The natural extension of that thought process is the demand that not only should the race be announced as part and parcel of the dragnet, but all men (or women as the case may be) of the offending race should go down to the police station and surrender a DNA sample and cycle through lineups until the perp is caught, just so they can "take responsibility" for someone else's crime. Surely no reasonable, responsible person would object to that.

Lawgiver said...

A few years ago when I was a 4th grade teacher someone took a teacher's purse out of her classroom while she was walking her kids to the bus. A week later the principal calls us to watch a security video of two women using the teacher's stolen credit card in a Macy's. He wants to know if we can ID the women. We did, they were moms of our students. The women had bought so much stuff their Macy bags were literally dragging on the floor, it was very funny. It was even funnier when the principal asked the mom thieves to come to the school to sign up for free lunches for their kids. The waiting police cuffed them in the office. Are you a racist if you think these moms were African American?

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tibore said...

I rarely end up on opposite sides of an issue with the professor, but on this one I am. The overriding issue here is what an assailant's description is. If it's generic, then it's still better than nothing. The ideal would be to include distinguishing characteristics (i.e. scars, tatoos, unique clothing or other unique identifying aspects of a person's visual appearance), but in the absence of that, I'd still rather be informed, even if the information is a bit generic.

If the description were an Asian man, 5' 7", wearing the same clothing, would it cause the same level of discomfort? I realize the description falls short of being specifically identifying, but the alternative to providing incomplete information when perfect information is not available is to provide no information. And that choice disturbs me greatly.

Pogo said...

"Again, what "solution" other than the collective guilt of black people for any potential offense?"

Well, for one they could raise their kids to reject thievery and gangster behavior as legitimate activities, but rather a shameful thing, worthy of shunning.

Instead, they sing/rap about it on MTV.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Maybe they should feel ashamed that a person of their ethnicity is committing crimes and it reflects poorly on themselves as a group.
...and white people should feel collective guilt over the various serial killers and insider traders that share their general skin melanin content.


Well knock yourself out. I for one only feel guilt for things that I have personally done that warrrant such an emotion. Yes serial killers are 99.9% white yet I don't lay the blame for their crimes on some some other demographic. On the contrary, I'll lead the cheer for them to be executed so as not to continue wasting my oxygen.

See I don't whine that all the serial killers are white. I don't care, I just want them eliminated from polite society.

junyo said...

Well, for one they could raise their kids to reject thievery and gangster behavior as legitimate activities, but rather a shameful thing, worthy of shunning.

Instead, they sing/rap about it on MTV.

Of course. All black people, every single one of them, embraces thievery and gangster behavior, and has a deep and abiding love of rap music, every note of which is the path to evil itself. Therefore they can safely be collectively grouped and/or punished. In fact, why even bother finding the individual black guy that actually committed the crime? Any given black guy is either a criminal, or a potential criminal, so odds are you're either locking up a gangster or preventing a crime with any misc black man you take off the street.

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

Junyo, you are a complete fool. Your arguments are asinine. Your discussion has degraded everyone who read it, and diminished the collective IQ of the entire universe.

May God have mercy on your soul.

Trooper York said...

If Mort was awake he would tell you he is posting under the name of junyo today.

Trooper York said...

Normally he likes to be called june bug, but he called in gay today so he put on a sock puppet.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

junyo said...

Well knock yourself out. I for one only feel guilt for things that I have personally done that warrrant such an emotion. Yes serial killers are 99.9% white yet I don't lay the blame for their crimes on some some other demographic. On the contrary, I'll lead the cheer for them to be executed so as not to continue wasting my oxygen.

See I don't whine that all the serial killers are white. I don't care, I just want them eliminated from polite society.

And you're responding to the question you'd like to hear, rather than the one I asked. DBQ suggested that blacks sound feel collective guilt for the acts of black criminlas and I asked if white people were obligated to do the same. No whine about it.

"whining" is one of those dismissive words that get thrown out in conversations about race as a rhetorical jab; it allows you to diminish an argument rather than actually answer it. Your answer did in fact reinforce my point that assuming that black people should feel collective guilt over the actions of an individual holds them to a different standard than most people hold themselves to. Most everyone wants to see crooks locked up; but how many of us are expected to personally or collectively falsely accused to see that happen? How many are willing to submit to random stops and searches to make the criminal justice system run a little smoother? And is it even reasonable to do so? Because you're not the average case the case of saying "big deal,deal with it" is practically none, therefore your accusation of whining is similarly discounted.

Junyo, you are a complete fool. Your arguments are asinine. Your discussion has degraded everyone who read it, and diminished the collective IQ of the entire universe.
Ah, the insult instead of an actual response. Thanks for demonstrating your utter lack of actual arguments.

junyo said...

Normally he likes to be called june bug, but he called in gay today so he put on a sock puppet.
Must every argument where you folks have no actual valid points devolve down to calling someone a troll/sockpuppet/an identity challenge? Fine, I'm gay, I'm black, I'm a Democrat, I'm a Yankee's fan, I'm Andrew Sullivan in a sundress, insert your pejorative here,. That doesn't change the fact that you're all arguing that treating a group of people as a class rather than as individuals is fine and dandy. Which gives the whole conservative "past identity politics" mantra a "...except when it's convenient" addendum.

Trooper York said...

Hey Mort, I was just teasing you. Isn't this the thread about teasing.

Oh, sorry, nevermind.

Trooper York said...

And I would never insult you by calling you Andrew Sullivan.

You have a much better sense of humor.

Ralph said...

Instead, they sing/rap about it on MTV
And made sagging, beltless pants and long white (prison) T-shirts the height of male fashion.

mcg said...

Waa, waa, waa, junyo's whinin'

Trooper York said...

I mean the post where you claimed you were stalked by a woman in college, man that was hilarious. Comedy gold. You sounded just like
Paula Abdul. Without the leg warmers.

I least I think without the leg warmers.

Trooper York said...

You know if you wore leg warmers, the cops would never stop you. I mean you figure they would have to include that in the description.

a black man, 20 to 30 years old and about 6 feet tall, last seen wearing a wool hat, dark boots, a long puffy winter coat, a sweat shirt hanging off one shoulder, pink leg warmers and black pants.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DBQ suggested that blacks sound feel collective guilt for the acts of black criminlas and I asked if white people were obligated to do the same.

I said "maybe". Maybe you need a dictionary?

Ann asked how should the black male college students feel about having the description of a criminal include relevant details, such as race and gender. I gave several options on how they might feel.

Personally, I AM pissed off at the white nazi skin head extremists, because they do give an opportunity for others to bash whites as a whole. I would like to think that some blacks feel the same way about extremists and criminals in their own ethnic group.

If you think that ALL black males are going to be collectively suspect just by having the ethnicity of the perpetrator disclosed, as Ann and others have suggested, then why SHOULDN'T they have collective guilt. You can't have it both ways.

I don't suggest that is the case: collective guilt should be felt for the actions of a few. But.... if you want to whine about all blacks being suspects because one criminal is black and.... gasp....the police release that fact, then hey.... goose meet gander.

you're all arguing that treating a group of people as a class rather than as individuals is fine and dandy.

No, actually you are making that assertion. We are making a distinction between criminals and ordinary law abiding citizens and the ridiculousness of political correctness in a criminal man/woman hunt.

blake said...

...and white people should feel collective guilt over the various serial killers and insider traders that share their general skin melanin content.

I was thinking that, too, but then I remembered reading recently that blacks are pretty much just as likely to be serial killers as whites, but not to be classified as such.

If I can find the article I'll link it.

In any event, if true, you have to ask yourself, "What is it that white people do to encourage serial killing among their own? Is it all those slasher flicks?"

I can't recall any influential persons (white or otherwise) suggesting that serial killing is a perfectly respectable way to go through life. A good way to fight the oppression of society and to reject for an authentically white experience.

Jennifer said...

Race is a hugely identifying trait. With scant few other descriptors, the campus police would be remiss to leave out the one they have.

Anyone who truly believes that a majority of black people gravitate toward thug culture and raise their children to embrace it has spent little time around black people. And probably zero time in a black Southern church.

My son hasn't been on an athletic team or in a classroom that wasn't at least 50% black in his entire life. He's never had a pint sized thug or a child with visibly thuggish parents involved in any of those teams and classes. In my experience (which is admittedly not urban), if you want to stereotype black people, go with religious, family oriented and strict parenting long before you reach for thuggish.

And, for the record, white people actually buy the majority of rap music and all its accoutrements.

Jennifer said...

Oh and by the way, the implication that black people are somehoe responsible for the behavior of other black people is ludicrous. Sharing an ethnicity has no more bearing on your relations than sharing a nationality or a neighborhood or a religion or a common hobby. Do you feel ashamed that a person of your nationality/neighborhood/religion/common interest group is committing crimes and it reflects poorly on you as a group?

Are you pissed about that and doing something about it?

Do you feel that you should be part of a solution instead of being obstructive?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Do you feel ashamed that a person of your nationality/neighborhood/religion/common interest group is committing crimes and it reflects poorly on you as a group?

Are you pissed about that and doing something about it?

Do you feel that you should be part of a solution instead of being obstructive?


I already said yes to those questions and I am doing something about it through the local law enforcement agencies and education programs through Rotary. (have to be a bit careful because some of these people are unhinged)

I don't think that all black people are criminals or gravitate to illegal activities anymore than all white evangelicals are abortion clinic bombers.

On the other hand to get all bent out of shape and accuse the police of profiling when they put out a bulletin because it includes the "fact" that the suspect is black, hispanic, asian or any other ethnicity is frankly retarded AND obstructing the ability of law enforcement to do their job. It also makes the rest of us unsafe.

Hypothetical Bulletin: "We have a serial burglar on campus, but we can't tell you the age, height, weight, race or gender because we don't want to offend anyone old, young, short, tall, fat, skinny, black, yellow, brown or man or woman. So everyone just watch out for yourselves."

The implication that black people or white people or any people are personally responsible for the bad actions of their ethnic or cultural group is not entirely wrong. If your society frowns upon bad actions and your peers, parents and the officials of your society do nothing to stop you or even overtly encourage you to bad actions, then yes.....you are responsible. Just the same way you are responsible for your child if he/she burns down the neighbor's house. It is called accountability and responsibility no matter what your color is.

knox said...

It's so funny how some people ask "what is the objective truth?" in a case like this...and others' instinct is to say "what are the other considerations? Even when a crime is involved.

Lisa said...

Did you consider that perhaps no one had a good look at the suspect?

Jennifer said...

My point, DBQ, is that ethnicity is an arbitrary grouping. A black person is no more responsible for the behavior of other black Americans than you are as an American. The implication that because some of us are not white, we belong to insular groups who exercise special control over each other is rather silly.

joemillerjd said...

What would the description for a white person say? Maybe the problem is that the University of Wisconsin has so few black people there, that YOUR idea of a black person is someone who wears a puffy coat, etc. I'm black and I wear an overcoat.

It's worth noting that the University of Wisconsin is not exactly a bastion of diversity, given its made up brochure, into which it inserted a black person, not really that long ago (http://tinyurl.com/6zfbuv).

Try again.

darkstar said...

"The implication that because some of us are not white, we belong to insular groups who exercise special control over each other is rather silly."

Dismantle the Sociology Department! Social groups don't exert influence and control on the behavior and beliefs of members! Forget folkways and byways and all that stuff that I barely remember from Soc101 anyway, I've been authoritatively told it's "silly". What a relief!

Jennifer said...

Ok, darkstar. But lets hold on to that Reading Comprehension Department as its services appear necessary.

Sharing an ethnicity has no more bearing on your relations than sharing a nationality or a neighborhood or a religion or a common hobby.

The implication that because some of us are not white, we belong to insular groups who exercise special control over each other is rather silly.

It doesn't appear that I said ethnicity is not ever a social group nor that I said social groups have no influence on thier members. But, the idea that someone should feel special shame or special responsibility over the actions of others of the same race but not any other social grouping is silly.

Should DBQ feel special shame or special responsibility if this specific criminal is also a finance major? Or from the Pacific NW? Or cleaning royalty? Or any other social grouping in common with her?

Pogo said...

"Anyone who truly believes that a majority of black people gravitate toward thug culture and raise their children to embrace it has spent little time around black people. "

Has anyone here said the word majority? No.

The truth is uncomfortable, however, Jennifer, involving a taboo on talking about the connection between culture and crime. Don't let PC make you blind:

From the NYT
"One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.

The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that only one in 355 white women between the ages of 35 and 39 are behind bars but that one in 100 black women are."


... from 2002 to 2006, the rate of murder committed by black male teens rose 52 percent."

Philadelphia sees murder rate of 1 per day "Most of Philadelphia's killings are by gunfire, most involve young black men and most are the result of arguments, often over drugs but sometimes over trivial insults or perceived slights."

US DOJ stats
"Lifetime chances of a person going to prison are higher for
-- men (11.3%) than for women (1.8%)
-- blacks (18.6%) and Hispanics (10%) than for whites (3.4%)

Characteristics of jail inmates:
An estimated 40% were black; 19%, Hispanic, 1% American Indian; 1% Asian; and 3% of more than one race/ethnicity."

Pogo said...

"...white people actually buy the majority of rap music and all its accoutrements."

And the outcome of the glorification of thug culture is unclear. Other factors play in, primarily black fatherlessness.

Jennifer said...

Majority was what I pulled from your comment, Pogo, and am glad to read your clarification.

I'm not uncomfortable with the fact that clearly certain racial groups outperform others in the area of crime. I'm uncomfortable wtih the idea that it reflects across all members of their race.

I should add that the idea that someone would be offended that a police description mentions someone of their own race is as silly as the idea that they are responsible for that person's actions.

Pogo said...

"I'm uncomfortable wtih the idea that it reflects across all members of their race."

Most are in agreement here, which is why Althouse's discomfort is, I believe, a mistake, i.e., "That's damned close to saying if you see a black man, call the police.". All they know is a black man is the perptrator. Saying so is a minimum requirement of public safety.

Jennifer said...

Well, I agree with you there, Pogo. Like I said, the idea that innocent black people would feel affronted by a description of a black criminal is essentially the same as the idea that innocent black people hold a special responsibility for the actions of black criminals.

And, seprately, I would point out that Americans in general are incarcerated at higher rates than people of comparable countries, commit more murders than people of comparable countries and come from broken and dsyfunctional families in higher rates than people of comparable countries. For whatever that is worth with regard to each of our own individual shame and responsibility.

Pogo said...

Hey, agreement here, too.

Wow, an internet first, no doubt!
Group hug!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Like I said, the idea that innocent black people would feel affronted by a description of a black criminal is essentially the same as the idea that innocent black people hold a special responsibility for the actions of black criminals.

I agree that the two ideas are both wrong or that black people hold a "special" responsibility for the bad actions of their ethnic or cultural group.

HOWEVER... the implication was put forward that the black male students would feel bad, threatened, affronted in some way. If you believe the first statement, why shouldn't the second statement be true as well?

The logical dicongnizance (if that is even a word) by the politically correct crowd is staggering.

Jennifer said...

Why would you think I believe the first statement? I think they're both wrong.

Race is a hugely identifying trait. With scant few other descriptors, the campus police would be remiss to leave out the one they have.


and

I should add that the idea that someone would be offended that a police description mentions someone of their own race is as silly as the idea that they are responsible for that person's actions.

That's what I said.

Jennifer said...

And I have to say that this...

2. Maybe they should feel ashamed that a person of their ethnicity is committing crimes and it reflects poorly on themselves as a group.

3. Maybe they should be pissed about the same issues in item number two and do something about it.

4. Maybe they should feel that they should be part of a solution instead of being obstructive.


...very clearly confers a special responsibility on members of a given ethnic group for the bad actions of other members.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Maybe you too don't understand the definition of the word "maybe" or the idea of hypothetical statements.

Prof Althouse asked how the black male students might feel about the police report. I offered a few positions, obviously none of which you agree with, and actually, neither do I.

What I am objecting to is the cognitive dissonance.

Jennifer said...

Ah, well that was a long and circuitous route to my understanding. No, I did not at all get that your comment was "here's a list of ideas I think are as stupid as this one".

Well, I guess I agree with you too. I generally beleive the politically correct can lay claim to their own kind of racism. Granted, it's warmer and fuzzier than the hateful kind. But, the angle is essentially the same.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

I love how the social groups that us whites are supposed to tip-toe around are the ones that are the most damaging to society.