Wednesday, November 07, 2018

A Racial Shakedown in Portland, Oregon

In a 30-second video recorded on Oct. 28, a female pedestrian holding a bicycle helmet is seen making a phone call. She’s complaining about a car blocking a crosswalk on a busy street in Portland, Ore. The phone call ends and the car’s occupants—a young black man and woman—walk up to her and take her to task for reporting them. Some angry words are directed at the bicyclist by the man—“go back to your f—ing neighborhood”—and then the video ends.

If this encounter had unfolded in a normal part of the world, this would be where the story ends: Just another squabble in the battle between drivers and non-drivers over public space. But Portland is not normal. This is a city where antifa mobs are allowed to set up roadblocks and mob elderly drivers, all with the mayor’s apparent acquiescence. 

The latest, above-described victim is a 28-year-old white woman who was captured on video during a phone call with the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s non-emergency parking hotline. The car belonged to Rashsaan Muhammad, who was with his partner, Mattie Khan. They parked improperly on a North Portland street while ordering food from a nearby burger restaurant. While filming, Ms. Khan accused the bicyclist of being “another white person calling the police on a black person.” She wasn’t. Portland Police have no record of that phone call taking place.

It is hard to know how the pedestrian, derogatorily christened “Crosswalk Cathy” on social media, could have known the race of the car’s owners. Portland doesn’t offer its residents race-tagged parking permits (yet), and the incident occurred on a busy business street. But that didn’t stop Portland Mercury news editor Alex Zielinski from writing a provocative (and wrong) story with the headline, “Woman calls cops on Portland man’s parking job. She’s white. He’s black.”

The report, video, and misinformation went viral and spawned a series of other stories targeting the woman. “Portland, Ore., couple Rashsaan Muhammad and Mattie Khan were running to grab a quick bite to eat at Big Burger (sic) when they spotted a woman bearing the skin color of an American terrorist standing across the street looking at their parked car,” read one unsubtle story at The Root. “White lady dubbed ‘Crosswalk Cathy’ called cops because she didn’t like how black couple parked,” headlined another on BET. Newsweek was slightly more charitable, saying she had “allegedly” called the cops. They were all wrong.

Last week’s race controversy ignited by Portland Mercury is not the first time the progressive alternative paper has published race-baiting content. Last year, it ran a libelous (and subsequently retracted) column accusing various restaurants of religious and cultural appropriation—and suggesting they were guilty of “culinary white supremacy.” The predictable result of that column was the siccing of a mob on the female owners of Kook’s Burritos, the business featured most prominently in the piece. They deleted their social media accounts, shut down their food cart, and went into hiding.

“Tribal hatreds are a dangerous thing to stoke,” said Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of The Diversity Delusion. She says most Americans are naïve about the tribal violence that defines much of the historical and modern human experience. “In the worst case, [victim ideologues] are fueling the fires of violent civil strife.”

The genre of “white people doing something to black people” is, by now, a well-established media genre that generates easy clicks. But there is also an unsettling subplot that few seem willing to discuss. The two people of color who star in last week’s viral video both act abominably toward a young woman they’ve just met. In a city where too many bicyclists and pedestrians have been struck and killed in car accidents (2017 was one of the deadliest years with 45 killed), the woman did her role as a good citizen by calling a non-emergency hotline to report the car blocking the crosswalk.

And it was Ms. Khan, not the pedestrian, who instantly racialized the incident, while her male partner called the woman an “idiot” and told her that she doesn’t belong in the neighborhood. Who’s the racist—not to mention segregationist—here?

The couple’s abominable behavior didn’t end after that encounter and the publication of the video on Oct. 29, however. Within hours, Ms. Khan named the bicyclist publicly and posted her photo on social media. Friends and followers of Ms. Khan then continued the doxing, publishing more photos and personal details of the woman. Twitter activist “@Sahluwal,” who only identified himself to me as “Simar,” reposted the video in a tweet watched over 200,000 times. “Twitter, do your thing and identify this woman,” he wrote. Simar told me he was not a witness and did not verify the claim in the video.

Sha Ongelungel, who was recently profiled glowingly as a racial justice activist in The Guardian, published the woman’s employer information on Twitter and encouraged others to call or email them. They obliged and demanded that she be fired. Ms. Ongelungel stopped responding after I inquired if she took any steps to verify the couple’s (false) allegation.

And like the owners of Kook’s Burritos the year before, the victim at the center of the video has deleted her social media presence, taken down her website, and gone into hiding. Her email is no longer listed at her employer’s page. Even some of her family who share the same surname have done the same. This sort of disappearing act now happens regularly in Portland—a new form of excommunication.

While Ms. Khan’s behavior may seem cruel and anti-social, there is a sort of rational logic to it: Progressive Portland is a city where even the most absurd claims of racism are taken seriously and prosecuted hysterically by the media and public.

In May, for instance, a black woman named Lillian Green launched a web campaign against Portland’s Back to Eden Bakery after the vegan shop declined to serve her after closing hours. In the video, she was admirably forthright about her motives for telling the world about this experience: Using the hashtag #LivingWhileBlack, Ms. Green—a doctoral student at Lewis and Clark College—explained that she wants to “blast their ass” on Facebook.

And blasted it was. The owners fired the two women working that evening and offered Ms. Green a job training the remaining employees in “racial inclusivity.” Such incidents send a clear message: Shaming white people, with or without merit, works. People will treat you as a hero. And you will get what you want.

Mattie Khan is now selling clothing merchandise of “Crosswalk Cathy.” She announced the sale on Facebook with a video of Rashsaan Muhammad modeling one of the hoodies at $45 a pop (t-shirts are $25).

In a city whose guilty whites seem ready to roll over on any pretext, no complaint is too absurd to become fodder for race hustling.


False Hopes and Invisible Enemies

Today, many educated people believe that (1) our lives are controlled by invisible, malevolent forces like "structural racism." (2) An evil class of people is born with special powers ("privilege") that allow them to manipulate these forces for their own benefit

written by Jonny Anomaly

People are pattern-seekers. When we observe patterns in the natural world we often seek a deeper explanation for them. An example of a pattern that has captured the attention of academics is the disparity between men and women in fields like mechanical engineering and pediatrics.

Culture is an obvious explanation for some disparities: if a wave of Irish immigrants to Boston joins fire departments, and Italians start restaurants, then we might expect that the next generation of Bostonians will contain a disproportionate number of Irish firefighters and Italian restaurant owners. Similarly, if low-skilled immigrants tend to work in jobs like construction and agriculture, we might expect to find a lot of low-skilled workers who move from Central America to the United States to work on construction sites and strawberry farms.

Another obvious way to explain divergent outcomes between groups is that some groups – ranging from races and sexes, to religions and political partisans – have been discriminated against or persecuted by others. In other words, members of some groups throughout history were not given the opportunity to show their true talents in some fields.

Historically, ethnic discrimination was the norm, not the exception. In fact, ethnic discrimination was almost certainly adaptive for our ancestors who had to decipher, however crudely, who to trust and who to shun. Discrimination often served the function of increasing trust within a group by preventing members of other groups from enjoying access to valuable social goods that took effort to produce and preserve.

Persistent Performance Gaps

When we want to explain performance gaps, the obvious places to start are culture, bias, and discrimination. But in the mid-to-late twentieth century nearly every Western country abolished discriminatory laws, and many also implemented affirmative action programs. Governments, universities, and private firms made active efforts to recruit traditionally persecuted minorities into schools and jobs to which they previously lacked full access.

Under these conditions, some groups improved their outcomes while others did not. Jews and Asians, in particular, have thrived in every Western country in which they are found, and in many cases, they make more money, commit fewer crimes, and attain higher levels of education than the majority group in the societies to which they have migrated.

Moreover, despite the tedious proclamations of politicians that women have a long way to go in Western countries, we are much closer to parity than many believe. The majority of college graduates are now women, and the pay gap between men and women is almost non-existent when we compare workers in the same occupation at the same level. (According to Harvard economist Claudia Golden, most pay gaps are due to choices made by men and women to work in different occupations based on personal interests: women who have children, for example, understandably prefer more flexible jobs, which often pay less.)

As explicit discrimination decreased, social scientists began proposing alternatives to explain remaining gaps. Two, in particular, became popular in the 1990s: stereotype threat and epigenetics. Stereotype threat (supposedly) occurs when people are asked to perform a task and then informed that, on average, members of their group are not especially good at that task. They then perform worse than they otherwise would have. Epigenetics refers to the fact that gene expression is influenced by extra-genomic factors. Some social scientists proposed that if genes can be expressed differently in different environments, perhaps stressful environments can lead some groups to perform more poorly than others by affecting gene expression.

But stereotype threat has turned out to be a spectacular failure in explaining achievement gaps. And epigenetics is unlikely to explain disparities like why Asians outperform Africans on math exams, and why Africans outperform Asians in sports that involve sprinting.

Unfalsifiable Hypotheses

When the predictions generated by these explanations failed to pan out, many began to turn to invisible forces like “structural racism” and “implicit bias” to explain achievement gaps. One problem with these hypotheses (as they are often employed) is that they are impossible to falsify. In fact, that seems to be the point: if we can’t test the hypothesis that unconscious bias and structural racism explain achievement gaps, they become perfect candidates for an all-purpose explanation that can be held with the force of a religious dogma.

When we see an achievement gap, we can invoke bias without even thinking about alternatives, and dismiss as a “racist” or “sexist” anyone who proposes the hypothesis that biology plays a role in explaining some achievement gaps.

Of course, biases exist, and sometimes they are at odds with our explicit value judgments. In these cases, it’s worth spreading social norms that aim to combat unfair biases. But some biases are useful heuristics, and some stereotypes are rational generalizations, like the belief that we have a greater chance of being violently assaulted by a man than a woman, or that the next international chess champion is more likely to be Jewish than Eritrean. In these cases, it is arguably morally wrong to prevent ourselves from believing what the evidence suggests.

When we hear someone attribute achievement gaps to implicit bias or structural racism, an obvious question to ask is: What would count as evidence against your hypothesis?

Vague Language

Structural racism (or sexism) is such an amorphous term that it is hard to know how to analyze it. We might first look to government institutions and private firms and ask whether they have policies of discrimination. In some countries, government agencies and businesses alike have policies that explicitly discriminate against entire classes of people (for example, in Saudi Arabia a man’s testimony in court has twice the evidentiary value of a woman’s). But in many Western countries like the United States and Australia, discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and sexual orientation is explicitly forbidden by law. Affirmative action programs actually do allow employers to discriminate – but they typically discriminate against rather than in favor of men of Asian or European descent.

Of course, we might think that although laws forbid discrimination, implicit bias leads some people to unconsciously discriminate against potential employees and co-workers. Implicit bias is hard to test, but the best evidence we have so far suggests that even when implicit bias exists it does not affect behavior very much, if at all. Despite the weak evidence for implicit bias as an explanation for achievement gaps, many corporations, and educational institutions have diversity training programs aimed at combating its allegedly pernicious effects.

Similar claims can be made about “misogyny,” which is the new term for “sexism” coined by radical feminists who claim that even if most people don’t consciously discriminate against women, an unconscious hatred of women helps explain why men and women exhibit different characteristics, which lead to different outcomes.

Will those who cite implicit bias, structural racism, or internalized misogyny respond to the evidence against their claims? Or will they instead retreat to untestable claims couched in vague language which allows them to save their hypothesis no matter what scientists find?


Those of us who suspect biology plays a role in explaining some group differences do not deny the existence of bias, which is especially powerful in traditional societies that lack norms of toleration and laws that protect minorities. But we are skeptical that racism or sexism or other pernicious forms of bias can explain all of the gaps that we see. More importantly, our hypothesis is falsifiable. One way to falsify it would be to find that genes which influence physical and mental traits – including abilities and interests – are identically distributed across human groups.

If people want to search for the different causes of achievement gaps by proposing testable scientific hypotheses, we welcome them to the debate. But we are frustrated by the seemingly unfalsifiable nature of the hypotheses that are increasingly put forward to defend the view that all groups are the same, and that all indications of difference are evidence of evil.


'I'm not meant to be a bloke': Woman who changed gender to become a man called Lee 15 years ago says sex swap was a huge mistake and wants to switch back

Sex changes are very often regretted

A transgender man who had a sex change 15 years ago has branded it the biggest mistake of his life and wishes he was still a woman.

Lee Harries, 60, of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, was born Debbie Karemer but underwent gender reassignment surgery at the age of 44.

After years of struggling with his sexual identity, he had his breasts, uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes removed, before doctors made a prosthetic penis for him.

But years later he says: 'I'm not meant to be a bloke' and believes he is not transgender.

Mr Harries, who married his partner Alan before he transitioned, has undergone counselling, where experts have told him he has PTSD as a result of being sexually assaulted by his father.

He told the Mirror: 'I wish I could turn back the clock and just have the foresight of what the nightmare the next 15 years would be.

'I'm a woman I'm not meant to be a bloke. I'm trapped. It's a complete mess - where do you even start? I just regret the decision.

'I'm sure a lot of transgender men feel the same too but I'm the only one honest and brave one to come out and say it.'

Mr Harries says he feels 'mutilated' and believes he had the surgery because he thought if he did not have a vagina anymore he could not be raped.

His trauma has also left him with objectum sexuality, which means he is attracted to inanimate objects.

Mr Harries says he has developed sexual attractions to a fishing rod and a radio, before having a 'relationship' with an electric guitar.

The 60-year-old is currently on the waiting list for an NHS operation to reverse his sex change, but feels 'trapped' in his male body.


The super-rich will regret their vulgar displays

clare foges

UK: Public anger is rising against flashy billionaires such as Philip Green and it’s bound to give a boost to Corbyn’s cause

A full month before pantomime season begins, our favourite villain has returned to the stage in a puff of green smoke: Sir Philip of Monaco. Boo! Hiss! Bubbling under recent coverage has been something approaching delight. Many long for Green’s comeuppance. Dislike of the man stretches back long before these bullying accusations, before BHS hit the rocks and before his shoddy treatment of its pensioners. Two words sum up why Green is long-loathed: greed and vulgarity.

It is one thing to be rich, another to parade it as showily as Green has done (while limiting payments to the taxman). Most famously, there were the parties. His 50th birthday bash was a £5 million event that saw Sir Philip dressed as Emperor Nero. His 55th had performances by George Michael and Jennifer Lopez, pushing the bill up to a rumoured £20 million. The 60th was a more modest affair, only £6 million to cover the numerous bottles of Pol Roger and singalong with Stevie Wonder. Green is a cartoon tycoon, perma-tanned and model-draped, possessing the daddy of all yachts in Lionheart. This £115 million, 295-foot monster troubles the Med’s prettiest harbours each summer blaring the message that its owner is, as the old Harry Enfield character used to declare, “considerably richer than you”.

Green is not the only person to splash the cash, of course, but his profile and pugnacity make him a lightning rod for our dislike of flashy braggarts everywhere. He embodies the culture of vulgarity that has grown ever since loadsamoney City traders flashed their wads of notes in the Eighties. It used to be that modesty was lauded and greed was a cardinal sin. Now the reverse seems true. Displays of wealth that would once have seemed unbelievably crass now barely raise an eyebrow.

The property developer Nick Candy boasts in an interview of the fleet of sports cars he and his brother Christian once owned: Rolls-Royce Phantom, Rolls-Royce convertible, Mercedes SLR McLaren, Ferrari F430 Spider and 575M Maranello, two Range Rovers and a Cherokee Jeep.

Tamara Ecclestone (daughter of Bernie, the Formula One boss) stars in a reality show that lingers on the details of her luxuriant life, from her £70 million house to her many butlers. Plutocrats’ offspring display incredible wealth on Instagram: being waited on in Monte Carlo and buried under Tiffany purchases in New York. A craze sweeping Russia and China shows how such tackiness has gone global. The “flaunt your wealth” challenge has Instagrammers posing corpse-like on the ground next to their luxury car or aircraft as though just pitched out of it, surrounded by Gucci bags, Prada sunglasses, piles of banknotes and jewels.

Most notoriously there is the endless race among the super-rich to build bigger and swankier boats. Last week this paper reported on a surge in demand for mega-yachts, with a predicted 40 per cent increase in the number of 100 metre-plus vessels built in the next few years. One industry figure puts this down to one-upmanship: owners needing to trump each other with multiple decks, helicopter pads, submersible vehicles, piano bars and cinemas.

Criticism of such excess is easily shut down as “the politics of envy”. Defenders of the super-rich ask, “Why shouldn’t they enjoy the fruits of their labours? Lighten up! Let the high-rollers roll!” Call it the politics of envy all you like, but the truth is that as life continues to grind hard for many in our country, as wages continue to stagnate, conspicuous consumption seems not only tacky and crass but taunting and cruel.

Green once complained that he was the victim of “envy and jealousy” but such lifestyles are designed to draw attention and inevitably spark envy. For many among the super-rich, their bought delights are not to be privately enjoyed but publicly shared. Part of the pleasure is in people witnessing your extravagance. In an age when social media and celebrity coverage trumpet every movement of the rich and famous, this means decadent, champagne-spraying spending being rubbed in the face of millions who have bugger all. These displays don’t inspire the hospital porter on the night shift or the carer on minimum wage to reach for the stars — they just make them feel inadequate and small, locked out of a Gatsby-like world.

This is why those who wear their wealth gaudily on their sleeve should be careful. The resentment caused is grist to the socialists’ mill. Anger about inequality is growing, not only among the have-nots but among the have-somethings. The more the super-rich seem to float off into a gilded bubble beyond the rest of us, the more voters will wish for them to be brought to heel. If a Corbyn government should come to “eat the rich”, as the hard-left placards say, if Chancellor McDonnell plays Robin Hood with some painfully (and destructively) redistributive policies, the flashy rich may only have themselves to blame.

To be clear: I don’t believe being on the Rich List makes you a bad person — far from it. I have great admiration for those with the entrepreneurial chutzpah to rise high and prosper. But there are ways to handle extreme wealth with class and even grace. In an essay entitled The Gospel of Wealth, the great Gilded Age philanthropist Andrew Carnegie said the duties of the very wealthy were to shun “display or extravagance” and consider themselves “trustees for the poor”.

Many around the world have taken these words as a manifesto. There are the highly generous, like Bill Gates with his Giving Pledge, and there are those who shun extravagance too. Ingvar Kamprad, the late founder of Ikea, flew only in economy class. The Mexican magnate Carlos Slim drives himself to work. Warren Buffett never spends more than $3.17 on breakfast. In Britain there are many rich people who go about their business modestly and take their responsibilities as trustees for the poor seriously. They start schools in deprived areas, fund mentoring and scholarships, pay enormous amounts in tax and don’t deserve to be tarnished by the brush of Green and his flashy ilk.

The awful “flaunt your wealth” challenge brought to my mind a woman who died in AD 79 . On the outskirts of Pompeii archaeologists found her wearing heavy gold armbands, rings and chains, carrying a bag containing more bracelets, rings, necklaces and a thick braid of gold. Weighed down by her gaudy riches as she ran from the erupting Vesuvius, she is a symbol of the adage that you can’t take it with you.

The super-rich should consider not only how they want to be perceived today but remembered tomorrow. Do they wish to be fossilised surrounded by Ferraris, gold bathtubs and Cartier bracelets or remembered, as the Carnegies and the Rockefellers are, for something better? The choice is theirs.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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