November 7, 2007

Beyond satire

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:
How to Read a Noose
by Troy Duster

Troy Duster is past president of the American Sociological Association and director of the Institute for the History of the Production of Knowledge at New York University, where he is a professor of sociology. He is also a chancellor's professor at the University of California at Berkeley. His books include Backdoor to Eugenics (Routledge, 2003).

Now about those nooses. News media highlight events with dramatic, immediate, personal content because they are symbolic violence, evoking the long history of physical violence. But such coverage typically neglects more-fundamental acts that are much more consequential to the persistence of racial hierarchy in American society.

In June the recently appointed chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, presented a decision much more far-reaching than any symbolic noose. "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race," asserted Roberts, "is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." Roberts said this to justify his deciding vote in a 5-4 decision to revoke a plan to increase racial integration of the heavily segregated Louisville, Ky., school system. Dissenting from this reasoning, Justice Stephen Breyer discussed the tragic irony of Roberts's use of the language of colorblindness to overrule any practices or policies that limit the historic privilege of whites. Without using a noose, the Supreme Court's defenders of white privilege successfully appropriated rhetoric from the civil-rights movement, morphing the symbolic language to effectively sustain the old racial order. Both George Bushes no doubt approved.

Forget the nooses for a moment, and look at the rest of the front page. I find myself wondering, for instance, about the racial composition of Blackwater troops in Iraq. Those private-sector contractors are paid five and six times more than their heavily African-American and Latino public-sector counterparts. While the media have focused on the noose on the doorknob, one sees nary a word about what looks to me like the reincarnation of the white army of segregationist 1917, but now so much better compensated. And what might Justices Roberts, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas have to say about this development? Well, they're colorblind. Confronted with the Blackwater example, they might unanimously argue that private market forces are productively at work.

My point is that market forces and Supreme Court decisions are far more effective than symbolic nooses in maintaining structures of white privilege. But the day that Blackwater, say, is effectively pressured to integrate, don't be surprised if there's a front-page Times story about a noose on the door of a new African-American recruit.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

15 comments:

Alex said...

So Dennis Dale also writes under the name "Troy Duster," eh?

Mark said...

I find myself wondering, for instance, about the racial composition of Blackwater troops in Iraq. Those private-sector contractors are paid five and six times more than their heavily African-American and Latino public-sector counterparts.

The higher up you go into elite Army units - where Blackwater mostly recruits - the whiter it gets. The Ranger company that fought the Battle of Mogadishu had precisely one Hispanic and one black, and none of the even more elite SEALS, Delt operators, or PJs working with them were minorities.

And why are blacks and other minorities always so critical of segregated units? Given the way they celebrate the accomplishments of the Buffalo soldiers, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, the Tuskegee airmen and the 442nd RCT, you think they would want segregated units.

simon newman said...

Composition of the US military is very similar to society as a whole in terms of race. Conversely, Blackwater has a lot of El Salvadoreans, presumably School of the Americas graduates. Apparently they're renowned for their knife-fighting skills. I was shown a Blackwater round-robin email a few years back by a former private security consultant they were trying to recruit (part of their recruitment drive) which included a section boasting about two El Salvadorean employees who had fought their way out of their base when it was overrun by insurgents (this was in 2003-4), killing several insurgents with their knives in the process.

DissidentMan said...

My point is that market forces and Supreme Court decisions are far more effective than symbolic nooses in maintaining structures of white privilege. But the day that Blackwater, say, is effectively pressured to integrate, don't be surprised if there's a front-page Times story about a noose on the door of a new African-American recruit.

I see things a bit differently. I would say: don't be suprised if there are strident calls for integration as well as EEOC lawsuits etc. after the publication of a front-page Times[1] story about a noose placed on the door of some African American recruit. And please refrain from suprise a second time when it emerges that the story was a hoax perpetrated by none other than the recruit. And, if you possibly could, hold back your suprise one more time when the retraction is printed in tiny print next to the horroscopes.

[1]As we know the Times is a mainstay of repsectability that would never do something like uncritically recycle government propoganda. When the Times eventually prints stories about clone armies being grown in secret Iranian underground complexes, we should have no doubt as to their veracity.

Anonymous said...


Given the way they celebrate the accomplishments of the Buffalo soldiers, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, the Tuskegee airmen and the 442nd RCT, you think they would want segregated units.


One wonders at the effectiveness of these units. Did they use selective recruitment?

Anonymous said...

Mark is right, this segregation of Delta Force was documented in Blackhawk Down. It is largely a function of cognitive test scores and swimming ability.

Also see here:
http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB7526/index1.html

Regarding access to SOF units: "Structural barriers that are more likely to eliminate minorities than white recruits include test cutoff scores, requirements for clean discipline records, swimming requirements, and the land navigation component of training."

Anonymous said...

Honestly, dont any of these recruiters watch 'The Unit', thats where I get my info on spec ops! /irony

ogunsiron said...

I think it's the same troy duster who was speaking against genetic/genomic research for fear that genes for "violence" might get uncovered and that blacks may turn to bear them disproportionately.
One thing that I simply don't understand with these people (black sociologists, activists, etc ) is that they really seem to have no ambition at all for black people. It never occurs to them that if blacks bear , for instance , violence promoting genes , that black people , more than anyone else , should welcome the genetic engineering that could fix the problem. They never advocate blacks doing Better . In an incredibly shameless way, all they can promote is whites and everybody else just loving us and our degenerate ways . Thus white parents should just be ecstatic about the predictable effects of their schools turning heavily black. You won't hear guys like troy duster saying that maybe we should act in such a way that other people would be beating the doors to get INTO black schools rather than away from black schools. Black people's reputation shames me , but it doesn't shame them (troy duster and co) and that's just strange to me . I don't get it .

Josh said...

Re Tuskeegee airmen: The "effectiveness" of this unit had been grossly exaggerated. The claim that they had never had a plane shot down by Nazis has been,uhm,shot down!

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh when I read this guy complaining about the military's racial composition.

"I find myself wondering, for instance, about the racial composition of Blackwater troops in Iraq. Those private-sector contractors are paid five and six times more than their While the media have focused on the noose on the doorknob, one sees nary a word about what looks to me like the reincarnation of the white army of segregationist 1917, but now so much better compensated."

So either the military is full of poor black and latino troops "...heavily African-American and Latino public-sector counterparts." Or the military is turning into the type of all white institution it is, "the reincarnation of the white army of segregationist 1917..."

Can't have it both ways. But I guess if you are a scholar like Duster with plenty of leftists and liberals to fellate you, you can. Someone should also inform Duster that the military has been getting whiter for some time. And the last time I checked, it is still an all volunteer force and less and less blacks volunteer. Should we now institute the draft for blacks only to balance things out?

Anonymous said...

I need to start reading this site more, as I was just thinking about this.

I was wondering if there will ever be a time when blacks demand that Blackwater be "integrated?"

I've spent some time in the military as well. Its not only the Special forces which is mostly white, its all combat arms jobs. Blacks tend to prefer the combat support jobs. Supply, cooks, and lots of black medics.

For some reason whites are just drawn to combat arms jobs? Whites also dominate the combat service and support jobs. These jobs are basically civilian jobs that require soldiers to do them. Satellite communications, computer systems, or x-ray tech, the military is outsourcing many of these now anyway.

I could never figure out why whites are so attracted to infantry and combat jobs? I can't think of any scenario in the future where these skills might come in handy.

Simon Oliver Lockwood said...

Anon 10 PM: You ask, "I could never figure out why whites are so attracted to infantry and combat jobs? I can't think of any scenario in the future where these skills might come in handy."

A disproprotionate number of whites who join the Army do so because of the desire to do "Army stuff" i.e. combat arms, possibly also while getting money for college. They are less likely to join in order to get a marketable skill.

Not surprisingly, the combat arms are also the MOS' that Blackwater etc. is most interested in.

Anonymous said...

"I can't think of any scenario in the future where these skills might come in handy."


Anon, I don't know if you were being sarcastic, I certainly can.

Mark said...

I could never figure out why whites are so attracted to infantry and combat jobs? I can't think of any scenario in the future where these skills might come in handy.

Whites who join the military are more likely to do so out of a sense of patriotism and respect for the sacrifices made by servicemen. The key here being that no one idolizes a guy who was a cook in the miltary. They idolize the boys who were on the front lines. Whites also like the challenge of military service, hence the 80s Army slogan "Be all you can be."

Blacks are more likley to join for a paycheck or in order to learn a marketable skill. I'd suspect that the reason for the lower black representation isn't because they fail the tests for Special Ops, but because they don't even take them.

Mark said...

Re Tuskeegee airmen: The "effectiveness" of this unit had been grossly exaggerated. The claim that they had never had a plane shot down by Nazis has been,uhm,shot down! - Josh

Irrelevant. I don't care how well they did. Let them keep their heroes. And the 54th Massachusetts, after all, got mowed down on the beaches before Battery Wagner. My point is in the way they celebrate these units, regardless of their actual performance. Given that, you think they'd want more segregated units.