February 19, 2014

Jargon alert: "black bodies"

Like "vibrant," any time you see the increasingly popular term "black bodies," you are probably having your chain yanked. You are automatically supposed to think of 12-year-old Trayvon Martin, not the Seattle Seahawks starting defense. From the New York Times:
The Bias Against Black Bodies 
FEB. 19, 2014 
Charles M. Blow

The Michael Dunn case has caused us to look once again at the American culture and criminal justice system, and many don’t like what they see. 
But we shouldn’t look at this case narrowly and see its particular circumstances as the epitome of the problem. They are not. The scope of the problem is far more expansive, ingrained and ellusive [sic].

Indeed. It's elusive to the point of being illusive.
This is simply one more example of the bias against — and in fact violence, both psychological and physical, against — the black body, particularly black men, that extends across society and across their lifetimes.

Like how black bodies never get to play cornerback in the NFL.
And this violence is both interracial and intra-racial. 

12 Years a Slave! 12 Years a Slave!
A 2011 study found that black parents were the most likely to spank their children.

Uh ...
After the study was released, Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, a Harvard Medical School psychiatrist who advocates against corporal punishment, and who also happens to be black, told CNN: “We have such damage in the black community. When you add to that parents beating their kids, it’s sending the message that violence is an O.K. way to solve problems.” Poussaint added later, “violence begets violence, anger begets anger, and the loss of control makes it all worse.” 
And for many black children, when they go to school things don’t get much better. According to the Center for Effective Discipline, corporal punishment and paddling in school is allowed in 19 states; these include all the states except Virginia in the Black Belt, which stretches across the South. The center found that African-American students make up “17 percent of all public school students in the U.S., but are 36 percent of those who have corporal punishment inflicted on them, more than twice the rate of white students.” 
This inequitable treatment in schools is also exerted in other ways. As USAToday reported in May: 
“The average American secondary student has an 11 percent chance of being suspended in a single school year, according to the study from the University of California-Los Angeles Civil Rights project. However, if that student is black, the odds of suspension jump to 24 percent.” 

To you and me, it seems pretty hard not to notice that the very black Seahawk defense that destroyed Peyton Manning's offense in the Super Bowl and the higher rate of suspensions earned by black youths are manifestations of more or less the same underlying phenomenon. But there you go again, noticing.
 

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one geeky enough to think of black-body radiation?

Anonymous said...

What about Middle Eastern, South Asian (British), SE Asian/Filipino, Native American, and Latino youth? They seem to display elevated rates of, um, "vibrancy" without necessarily being particularly good at sports.

Anonymous said...

The dishonesty in statistics is so absurd. If paddling only occurs in the black belt, why are they talking about black proportion of national paddlings? It should be a proportion of deep south, nonvirginian states: blacks make up x percentage of deep south schools and receive x percentage of the paddlings there. The national comparison is useless since blacks have higher percentages in paddling states. Unless the argument is that those states have paddling because they have so many blacks.

Anonymous said...

Charles Blow and Frank Bruni are similar in that their columns revolve around the gripes of their respective identity-politics pressure groups. They always serve up predictable laments of victimhood that really don't have a trace of individuality. Bruni's columns read like parodies by hysterical right-wingers. Case in point:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/06/opinion/bruni-striking-olympic-gold.html?_r=0

Roger Cohen is the class of the NYT's editorial page. At least somebody at the world's most influential publication understands the need to write about serious issues the world faces with a semblance of impartiality.

JNorth said...

Glad to see the first comment is also the first thing I think of. Of course, I'm an engineer so I have that for an excuse.

Anonymous said...

The biggest disparate impact employment in the US is in the US media.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's a good thing that he mentioned violence against black kids by black parents.

I wouldn't call it spanking though. Spanking comes with rules and reasons. Blacks often just whup their kids. Whup them good. And just out of the blue. I've seen lot of it. "SHUT UP OR I'LL WHUP YO' ASS!!"

Anonymous said...

Corporal punishment works best on the dumbest kids, it's a proven fact.

Dave Pinsen said...

Was Richard Sherman disciplined a lot in high school? That seems unlikely. And, in general, NFL defensive players need to exhibit some discipline (e.g., to not jump offsides on a QB's hard count).

Anonymous said...

If paddling only occurs in the black belt

Karate chop your kids?

Survivor said...

Did you hear about the triple homicide in Detroit? Three white men tortured killed and burned by four blacks? This isn't the Summer Germans btw. It's a winter war now. Still not ringing a bell? Bowman, Bowman and Hoots. Murder by assorted Jackson's and Johnson's.

Well, if you live outside Detroit you probably never will hear about it.

Survivor said...

Dark Star is the phrase I think about.

Anonymous said...

Zimmermania never ends.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/blogs/gone-viral/os-george-zimmerman-angry-mob-miami-20140219,0,1129910.post

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/02/frank-taaffe-zimmerman-dunn-oprah

Reg Cæsar said...

Trayvon's face was hidden deep in his hood and his hands in his pocket. His age, sex and health were more profilable than his race that night-- unless Zimmerman had read his Coon. (That's Carleton, for you teenage trolls.)

So was this a case of "body profiling"?

Anonymous said...

"Trayvon's face was hidden deep in his hood and his hands in his pocket. His age, sex and health were more profilable than his race that night-- unless Zimmerman had read his Coon. (That's Carleton, for you teenage trolls.)" - Zimmerman is on record saying "he looks black" in response to a query on race, Though he may have just guessed.

Anonymous said...

Black Men are the ultimate in masculinity

Anonymous said...

Not too long ago I was in a store, not in Utah, but another rather liberal state. As I was perusing items, three teens walked in. Two boys, one girl. All were African American. My daughter was also in the store browsing. She is also a teen. She is white.

When my daughter and I stepped into the store, no one really paid attention to us other than to say hello and to ask if they might help us find anything. But when the other three stepped in, heads turned. I could tell they were being watched closely. No one said hello to them. No one offered to help them find a thing. Tension was palpable.

At one point I wanted to see something high up on a shelf but could not reach it. One of the teen boys saw this and offered to help me. He was so polite and so kind. These were lovely kids. They chatted with us for a while.

I did not purchase anything in that store. The teens left before my daughter and me and as I left I walked up to the cashier and told her and her co-workers that they made me uncomfortable with their inequitable treatment of those kids.
I am sure they thought I was a witch to say that to them, but it is time we all stand up for what is right. That includes any unfair bias we witness, be it in our town, our schools or our neighborhoods. Only then will we see change.

If you see what I saw and wonder what to do, ask yourself two questions; If not me, who? If not now, when?
Then act.

Reg Cæsar said...

Exactly. He "looks" black. Not, he IS black.

Reg Cæsar said...

Black Men are the ultimate in masculinity

And we saw how that worked out, didn't we, Nicole?

Anonymous said...


Survival is an instinct. There are no rules. Detroit has raised generations without hope that we as a society have left to fend for themselves with no other available tools besides desperation, retaliation, and starvation. We are just as guilty as these four by our decision to drive our F150's to the ballpark and out again as fast as we can. Abandonment breeds corruption of the mind, heart and soul. This crime is only the reflex of a city skipping on survival mode. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Anonymous said...

OK, now I can think of loud rap music is black body radiation.

jody said...

all i think is black body radiation.

Anonymous said...

What the black supremacist Charles Bro won't mention:

http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-detroit-horror-tortureburningmurder.html

Anonymous said...

"Black Men are the ultimate in masculinity"

See THE SPECTACULAR NOW. White boy loses blond girlfriend to big Negro ans accepts his pussy-boy status without complaint.

The new ideal: inferiority comfort.

Anonymous said...

"The biggest disparate impact employment in the US is in the US media."

"Did you hear about the triple homicide in Detroit?"

The news is what the people running the media want it to be.

.

"Black Men are the ultimate in masculinity"

Would that make Jewish men whatever the opposite of ultimate is?

Anonymous said...

I also enjoy the expression "who happens to be". No noticing!

Anonymous said...

It's not just the beatings at home, it's all the screaming and interrupting and never letting one person finish a sentence.

The person communicating in many black families is simply the one with the loudest, most persistent scream.

Anonymous said...

did not purchase anything in that store. The teens left before my daughter and me and as I left I walked up to the cashier and told her and her co-workers that they made me uncomfortable with their inequitable treatment of those kids.
I am sure they thought I was a witch to say that to them, but it is time we all stand up for what is right. That includes any unfair bias we witness, be it in our town, our schools or our neighborhoods. Only then will we see change.

If you see what I saw and wonder what to do, ask yourself two questions; If not me, who? If not now, when?
Then act.

________________________

You're hilarious.

Anonymous said...

"We are just as guilty as these four...Abandonment breeds corruption of the mind, heart and soul...We have no one to blame but ourselves."

The people to blame are the media who have been covering the problem up for 60 years.

You can't treat a problem if the majority of people don't know the problem exists and by people I mean the upper middle class as they dominate politics.

Anonymous said...

To me, 'black body' meant a concept in physics. It was a perfect source of heat-induced electro-magnetic radiation.

Xavier said...

I guess the memo is out: talk about black bodies, not black minds. Remember, racists lash out to conceal feelings of shame about their own inferiority.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

Not too long ago I was in a store, not in Utah, but another rather liberal state. As I was perusing items, three teens walked in. Two boys, one girl. All were African American. My daughter was also in the store browsing. She is also a teen. She is white.

When my daughter and I stepped into the store, no one really paid attention to us other than to say hello and to ask if they might help us find anything. But when the other three stepped in, heads turned. I could tell they were being watched closely. No one said hello to them. No one offered to help them find a thing. Tension was palpable.

At one point I wanted to see something high up on a shelf but could not reach it. One of the teen boys saw this and offered to help me. He was so polite and so kind. These were lovely kids. They chatted with us for a while.

I did not purchase anything in that store. The teens left before my daughter and me and as I left I walked up to the cashier and told her and her co-workers that they made me uncomfortable with their inequitable treatment of those kids.
I am sure they thought I was a witch to say that to them, but it is time we all stand up for what is right. That includes any unfair bias we witness, be it in our town, our schools or our neighborhoods. Only then will we see change.

If you see what I saw and wonder what to do, ask yourself two questions; If not me, who? If not now, when?
Then act.

2/19/14, 9:37 PM"

That narrative is losing it's power, sorry.

Gordo

Anonymous said...

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

watchmaker said...

How can the scope of a problem be 'engrained' or 'elusive'? The problem itself might be those things, but not its scope. And how can something thay is 'engrained' and 'expansive' also be 'elusive'? If something is engrained (pervasive) and expansive (big) then it cannot elude you; it will by definition be easy to find.

Call me a pedant, but this sentence alone strongly suggests that the writer doesn't have even a basic idea of what the words he is using mean. Or indeed how to spell them, as Steve points out. This being the case, his argument - if it can even be called such, made up as it is of words whose meanings are not understood by their author - does not even merit a hearing, never mind a refutation.

Anonymous said...

Black Bodies: low albedo...and IQ!

Anonymous said...

"Black Men are the ultimate in masculinity"

And yet, their out-marriage rate is the same as that for Asian men - who are the lowest on the masculinity totem pole.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe schools actually spank anymore due to lawsuits, even if it's legal.

Steve, you should censor the obvious trolls. It's distracting.

SFG said...

"Roger Cohen is the class of the NYT's editorial page. At least somebody at the world's most influential publication understands the need to write about serious issues the world faces with a semblance of impartiality."

Well, he did actually tell us to forgive the Germans at one point.

SFG said...

"And yet, their out-marriage rate is the same as that for Asian men - who are the lowest on the masculinity totem pole."

Ladies love the green. Ceteris paribus, the black guy has the edge over the white guy over the Asian--but ceteris isn't paribus (I'm sure one of you Latinists can do a better job), and the black guy has less money.

Of course you can wind up paying alimony, etc., but that's for another day.

Marissa said...

Detroit has raised generations without hope that we as a society have left to fend for themselves with no other available tools besides desperation, retaliation, and starvation. We are just as guilty as these four by our decision to drive our F150's to the ballpark and out again as fast as we can. Abandonment breeds corruption of the mind, heart and soul. This crime is only the reflex of a city skipping on survival mode. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

I remember this poem back when Kipling wrote it.

Jefferson said...

"Did you hear about the triple homicides in Detroit?

Homicides in Detroit are about as common as hookers in Pattaya.

Homicides and Sub Saharans go together like peanut butter and jelly.

pat said...

The whole meme that violence begets violence may indeed have a scientific basis.

We know that the two repeat promoter sequence called the "Warrior Gene" is much more common in people of African ancestry as well as the Maori where it was originally noticed. It seems that there may also be an epigenetic effect such that environmental violence done to the child early is needed to 'trigger' the gene's effect. Some kind of methylation I suppose.

Personally I suspect that this whole idea is just mush headed rot, but it is a legitimate scientific speculation out their in the community.

Albertosaurus

countenance said...

They seem to forget that Michael Dunn was convicted of some charges, enough that he'll probably be in prison for most of the rest of his life.

ben tillman said...

They seem to forget that Michael Dunn was convicted of some charges, enough that he'll probably be in prison for most of the rest of his life.

"Some" charges? He was convicted of three counts of second-degree murder!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing this up, Steve. I've been noticing that irritating phrase — "black bodies" — a lot more lately, too.

The first time I came across it I can remember wondering if I was reading something written in a foreign language that had been run through Google Translate.

"What the hell? Why don't they just say 'black people?'" I remember thinking.

The way it's used, it's so ugly, clinical, and dehumanizing to black people, and I can't figure out what the point is. Usually when PC-types trot out some new language innovation, I can see immediately what they're doing, or at least what they think they're doing: Oh, they're trying to make some freakish weirdness sound normal. Or they're trying to call attention to the racist/sexist/oppressive nature of blah blah blah. Or they're trying to pull that old totalitarian trick of changing the language to try to make certain thoughts unthinkable.

Or, as with "white Hispanic," they're trying to extricate themselves from an identity-politics conundrum and explain Which Side We're Supposed To Hate.

I can't figure out what's going on with the term "black bodies," though. All it does is make the writer sound like some sort of weird robot. I can totally see some HAL-like sci-fi computer coldly referring to humans as "black bodies" and "white bodies" and whatnot.

I suppose this might be an attempt to "call attention to society's cold calculus about the value of black lives," or some such nonsense, but the fact I have to struggle to make that metaphor work tells me it's a terrible metaphor.

Maguro said...

This reminds me of Eddie Murphy's old routine about his mom hitting him with her shoe. Funny stuff.

Anonymous said...

OK, now I can think of loud rap music is black body radiation.

Sonic disruption

Camlost said...

The term "black bodies" has been very common in modern literary criticism for 20+ years, especially within the context of anti-colonial writing.

I think Franz Fanon was using the term in the 1950's.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who claims that there are no differences between the races has never tried to teach black kids.

Anonymous said...

Actually Asian parents wallop their kids at a greater rate than whites do, too.

Can't say it makes them violent.

Although no, they're not paddled at school...

Mr. Anon said...

This guy will really be pissed of if he ever reads a biography of Max Planck

ATBOTL said...

What about "underserved populations." That seems to be the new term used to justify blatant discrimination against whites.

Ikari said...

White folk (minus some diseased California-bred liberals) understand the difference between "spanking" a child and "beating" a child.

Ever see a black mother "beat" a child? That shit is hands down abuse. Screaming and whoopin' the fuck out of them. In public. Violence is just part of their "culture" from birth to death.

Why is it so offensive to make them pretend to be more like white folk again?