Saturday: Hili dialogue

October 15, 2022 • 6:30 am

Greetings on cat shabbos: Saturday, October 15, 2022, National Dessert Day.  The Hili posts will slowly expand as I recover, but right now I’m badly fatigued and am trying new medication for insomnia. Until I’m back to normal, posting will be on the light side.

Readers who want to highlight notable events, births, and deaths on this day can go to the October 15 page on Wikipedia and put some entries below.

The NYT reports on a massacre in Iran—the bloodiest one since anti-government riots broke out a month ago after the government murder of Mahsa Amini for not wearing her hijab properly. This time, in the city of Zahedan in southeastern Iran, a group of people from the ethnic Baluch minority (mostly Sunni Muslims; Iran is largely Shiite) were slaughtered during demonstrations against government security forces:

The protesters chanted antigovernment slogans and threw rocks at the officers, prompting the security forces to fire indiscriminately into the crowd, according to witnesses. As the demonstrators scattered, the gunshots stalked their retreat back toward the complex, where thousands were still praying.

“It was a massacre I had only seen in movies,” said Jamshid, 28, a worshiper, who was reached by phone and identified himself only by his first name to avoid reprisals. “They started shooting as people still had their heads bowed in prayer.” Young men threw themselves in front of children and older people to shield them from the bullets, Jamshid said. “People had nowhere to go.”

The massacre, called “Bloody Friday” by residents, represents the most lethal government action since a crackdown began against nationwide demonstrations a month ago. Sixty-six to 96 people were killed over the course of the next several hours, according to local and international human rights groups, including Amnesty International.

Videos obtained and analyzed by The New York Times show in detail an unbridled response by the security forces as the chaotic and bloody scene unfolded. In one video, men who appear to be snipers in plain clothes are seen on the police station’s roof firing into the street.

This is the country we’re cozying up to? My prediction: these protests are eventually going to mushroom to the extent that the Muslim theocracy and mullahs will fall, and Iran will become a democracy. And women can let their hair fly free without being beaten to a pulp and gay men won’t be forced to have surgery to become transwomen so that they can have sex with other men. Yes, that’s wishful thinking, but it’s a lovely thought.

Two items to read:

John McWhorter’s column about Rachel Richardson, a Duke volleyball player reported to have been subject to repeated racist insults as she played against Brigham Young University: “What a report of extreme racism teaches us.” (I wrote about this incident a month ago, citing reports that there was no such incident, yet the press wrote about it as if it happened, for it matched their ideological biases.) McWhorter:

To date, no one has offered evidence that corroborates Richardson’s claims of racist verbal abuse, either independently or as part of an investigation by B.Y.U. There is nothing comparable in the security footage or in the television feed the school took of the match. No one at the match representing either school has described hearing such a thing happening. No witnesses have been reported as coming forward.

To be clear: It is possible that some racist spectator shouted a racial slur at Richardson at some point during the match. But it seems apparent that no rising tide of slurs and threats occurred during that match — that would be clear in the recordings. And Richardson’s having possibly exaggerated what happened casts into doubt whether there were any slurs at all, given that people leveling such words tend to do so with the intention of being heard by others, and no one present has come forward and explicitly said they heard it. Richardson and her representatives have presented no explanation as to why recordings via modern technology do not reveal what she claimed.

. . . I have long noticed, in attending to episodes of this kind in our times, that claims of especially stark and unfiltered racist abuse, of the kind that sound like something from another time, often do not turn out to have been true. Accounts of this kind, I have realized, should be received warily. Not with utter resistance, but with a grain of salt.

The people making such claims appear to be thinking of horrors of the past and claiming that what supposedly happened to them shows that those horrors persist. It is difficult not to notice, for example, the parallel between Richardson’s claim and Jackie Robinson’s being called the N-word from the stands in the 1940s.

But while we have not remotely reached a point where racism does not exist, we have reached a point where some people are able to fabricate episodes of racism out of one unfortunate facet of being not Black, but human — crying wolf and seeking attention.

I’ve followed similar incidents for years, but haven’t written about them much. These extreme claims, like swastikas being painted in restrooms, often turn out to have been perpetrated by the victims themselves for a variety of reasons. When colleges find out it was a hoax, they never reveal that; they just say nothing, and, indeed, use the hoaxes as some kind of evidence that bigotry is still afoot.

Of course some hate incidents are real; as McWhorter hastens to add:

While we must always be maximally aware that racism does still exist, we must also know that not all claims of racist abuse hold water and that being aware of this does not disqualify one from being an antiracist. True antiracists know that Black people exhibit the full scale of human traits and tendencies, including telling tall tales — and yes, even about matters involving racism.

Have a look at the book Hate Crime Hoax by Wilfred Reilly. He looks at dozens of such “hate” incidents and finds that a startlingly high percentage are hoaxes. What’s equally disturbing is that institutions (mostly colleges) where they occur don’t often own up to the campus they’re hoaxes; or if they do, they invariably say something like “Yes, this is a hoax, but that reaction to it shows that bigotry is still ubiquitous.” It’s almost as if these institutions are invested in the narrative of hate.

Sorry, but the hoax perps, who are exacerbating divisiveness, should be called out and punished. And when a “crime” is found to be a hoax, it should be publicly announced. In this case, with thousands of people in attendance, there was no doubt.

Second, Andrew Sullivan has come out swinging against affirmative action, a position I still hold but one that seems increasingly untenable when we see minorities like Asian-Americans (yes, they’re “people of color”) discriminated against by Harvard (in this case, by being given low “personality scores” by the administration but not by people who interviewed the candidates!). In “The Placebo of Affirmative Action,” Sullivan was gobsmacked to discover that in a Generation-Z focus group of 12 students, 11 opposed the use of race as a college admissions criterion. Other polls and state referenda show similar majority opinion against affirmative action:

In a civilization like America, rooted in the rights and opportunities of the individual, no one really wants to believe they achieved what they achieved simply because they are a member of a group.

It’s a stigma. And this is particularly true for a member of a racial minority — someone who may well have overcome low expectations to succeed in school, worked harder than their peers, triumphed over a tough background or broken family and resisted the easy out of resentment. To do all that and then suffer the indignity of others doubting your right to be at an elite college because of your race must be psychologically excruciating.

And for a country that in the mid-1960s had just abolished its pernicious system of formal race discrimination, it was also excruciating to subsequently erect a new system of formal race discrimination — but this time in reverse. That’s why affirmative action was first described as a temporary evil — rather than an ultimate good.

. . . In the 1978 Bakke decision, the Court had adjusted affirmative action to end crude quotas, but justified it anew by saying it fostered “diversity” on campuses — which was in itself a legit educational goal. But how do you define “diversity”? Certainly not of ideas: since affirmative action arrived, elite colleges have become ever more mono-cultural and ever more untethered to the society as a whole. Of sex? Affirmative action helped women gain a footing in colleges, but soon enough, they thrived on their own, and men became the fast-shrinking minority.

So it’s almost all about race. Which means to say: race discrimination, however you dress it up. The pre-Bakke “quotas” and post-Bakke “diversity” methods are hard to distinguish in practice, as some liberals were honest enough to say at the time.

I am still holding on to my view that a good college that doesn’t “look like America” to some extent is not a good look. But it’s getting harder for me to maintain that view, especially since I remember that when affirmative action was instituted, it was supposed to be a temporary expedient. “A temporary inconvenience—a permanent improvement,” as the road-construction signs say. But with all the DEI apparatus constructed and in place, permanent affirmative action is what we’re facing.  And when I hear from my friends—good liberals—things like the email I got yesterday, I get cognitive dissonance:

I don’t care what a school’s student body looks like. I care that effort, motivation, and smarts gets rewarded with a system that doesn’t penalize those things because of how someone looks, where they come from, or their gender.
It’s not fair that Asian students [at Harvard] are discriminated against. It’s the old Jewish quota system but with a new minority group being disadvantaged. If Asians end up being most of the student population at elite schools all I can say is good for each one of them. Because each of them is an individual, a complex, highly unique individual. And they deserve to be evaluated as such rather than lumped in with other people that have a passing resemblance to them.
But then you can read are good defenses of affirmative action not based on fairness to individuals, like this one by Natasha Warikoo in the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Weigh in below.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Malgorzata informs us that Hili has been reading Thomas Kuhn and wants more explanation:

Hili: How do you change a paradigm?
A: Best to do it with consideration.

In Polish:

Hili: Jak się zmienia paradygmat?
Ja: Najlepiej robić to z namysłem.

And a picture of Kulka in a tree from Paulina:

A photo of a present for a cat’s birthday, from Merilee:

From Matt: a Bizarro comic from Mark Piraro:

Here are some tweets:

God is still going off on the mullahs and despotic Iranian regime. Here’s what he recently tweeted:

From Masih: Women without hijabs going about freely in Tehran:

From Wayne: Goose (NOT A DUCK!) on the field!

From Simon.  Larry the Dude abides!

From Malcolm:

From the Auschwitz Memorial. Yes, Regina Jonas was the first woman ever ordained as a rabbi. She died in Auschwitz.

Tweets from Matthew: How could the driver not see those mines? It looks like at least one person survived. . .

Here’s Nancy Pelosi and her Congressional colleagues in a safe space during the January 6 insurrection:

. . . and a gargoyle cat and kitten:

36 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Hili: How do you change a paradigm?
    A: Best to do it with consideration.

    I thought the traditional mechanism was paradigm change, one funeral at a time?

  2. “My prediction: these protests are eventually going to mushroom to the extent that the Muslim theocracy and mullahs will fall, and Iran will become a democracy.”

    My guess is that after democracy is established it will be undermined and replaced by Muslim theocracy and mullahs again in a decade or two. You can treat an inflammation but unless you cure the cause the inflammation will come back.

  3. Small correction: i believe it is Sat Oct 15 not 14 and need to look at Oct 15 Wikipedia page for events in history this day.

  4. “While we must always be maximally aware that racism does still exist, we must also know that not all claims of racist abuse hold water and that being aware of this does not disqualify one from being an antiracist. True antiracists know that Black people exhibit the full scale of human traits and tendencies, including telling tall tales — and yes, even about matters involving racism.”

    This incident makes me think that about 99% of people are oblivious to our current reality.

    Pretty much every MSM outlet reported this not as a claim or possibility, but instead stated it as if it definitively occurred. This despite the fact that the entire game was streamed and recorded and that there were hundreds of people there all with recording devices in their pockets and no one captured anything close to what was claimed. The conclusion for the public should be that any journalistic outlet that ran stories as if the claim was real should be regarded as either too incompetent in basic journalistic skills to be trusted or regarded as liars. Stop watching or reading these rags. They don’t make you informed or intelligent. They make you dumb and ignorant.

    But then we have the other half of the public that gloats about the incident as another example of a hoax. Sure, it would have been a horrible incident of white racism…..if true, they say. But here’s the reality of black and white interactions: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks commit violent crimes against whites over 500,000 times every year. That means that on the day the media freaked out about a black girl being called a bad word by a white person, there were around 1400 whites who were raped, robbed, beaten, or murdered by black people. Our collective response to the claim of a racist slur should be one giant outcry of “Who cares!!!” whether it happened or not.

    1. “According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks commit violent crimes against whites over 500,000 times every year.”

      Your assertion (even if true, you provide no link to your source) is meaningless without context. We would need to know how many white-on-white crimes there are, white-on-black crimes, and black-on-black crimes. 500,000 (if true) sounds like a big number, but, in reality, it may not be so.

      On the other hand, in 2020 Reuters did a fact check on claims of interracial murders. It analyzed a claim appearing on right-wing sites that “81% of white murder victims are killed by Blacks.” To the contrary, Reuters cities FBI figures for 2018 (the latest available) the following:

      “According to the FBI’s Expanded Homicide data from 2018, the most recent report of this kind Reuters was able to find 80.7% of the murders of white people were committed by white offenders (2,677 of a total of 3,315) while 15.5% of the murders of white people were committed by Black offenders (514).”

      The Reuters verdict is this: “FBI data does not support the numbers put forth in this claim on interracial crime and police killings. Most U.S. murders for white and Black victims are intraracial.”

      1. The stats come from the 2018 Bureau of Justice Statistics. Blacks attacked whites 537,204 times while whites attacked blacks 56,394 times. That means that blacks attacked whites 9 1/2 times more frequently than whites attack blacks. But given that there are roughly 5 times as many whites as blacks, this means that the per capita rate of black on white violent crime is about 4762% higher than the reverse.

        As for your reuters “fact check,” when you go look at the actual data they include hispanics in the white category, but only for offenders. So the 80.7% white on white is actually closer to 57% when you don’t lie like reuters did. Unsurprisingly, reuters is also one of the outlets that printed the lie about the racial slur. Which brings us back to my original point. Maybe you shouldn’t rely on outlets that constantly lie.

        1. Although you have once again neglected to link your source, I will do the work for you. The link is this:

          The report is entitled “Criminal Victimization, 2018” from the Department of Justice. The relevant information is to be found in table 14 on page 13 of the report. It notes that 15.3% of white victims were the result of black offenders. The 15.3% is only slightly larger than the black population of 12%. Hispanics represent 10.2% of crimes against whites. The table also indicates that 61.1% of violent crime against whites was committed by white. Of course, the percentage of white offenders against black victims was low since black on black crime was 70%. So, your fear mongering that blacks are somehow targeting whites is completely bogus. The ratio of black on white crime to white on black crime is meaningless.

            1. Well since everything from classical music to being on time is considered racist these days, I consider the label to be a compliment.

          1. We would only expect blacks to commit violent crimes against whites in proportion to their population percentage if we lived in a perfectly racially integrated society. We don’t. Which is why, as you point out, whites commit such a low percentage of crime against black and blacks commit such a high percentage of crimes against blacks. My point was that blacks commit an incredibly high, by percentage and number, amount of violent crimes against whites and instead of calling out blacks for it the media instead chooses to focus on an incident of a white falsely calling a black person a bad word.

  5. Is there any reason to think that there is any stigma attached to having got into a highly selective college for reasons other than merit? I knew lots of people who got in to my highly selective college because they were from small rural communities, rather than Boston, Philadelphia, New York. Or they were legacy admits. The idea of there being some stigma because you didn’t get in on merit seems to be applied only to those who get in because of race. If white people who get in for these reasons don’t think of themselves as stigmatized, one might ask whether the supposed stigma has a different source.

    1. You are completely correct to point out that ‘legacy admissions’ have as much to feel ashamed about as anyone admitted without proper qualifications on any other grounds. Those admitted on merit should resent all of them for diluting the value of their decrees.
      As for a “temporary evil,” let us imagine other temporary evils we would be happy to live with for, what, nearly sixty years. Should we, say, concede eastern Ukraine to Putin for sixty years? Pick your own nightmare and imagine saying to yourself it will be OK, it’s only for sixty years…

      1. I am still puzzled. Why should someone who was admitted to a selective college because they wanted students with rural backgrounds and not just backgrounds in the big east coast cities be in any way ashamed? The admissions people thought students benefit from interacting and living with people with different backgrounds. How does having been admitted because of these grounds constitute anything to be ashamed of? The admitted students are different in various ways, and the admissions people are not judging any of them to be lacking in the capacity to meet academic requirements. How does this dilute the value of the degree? You get the degree by fulfilling requirements for it, and the different admissions criteria in no way altered what you need to do to get the degree.

        1. My point is that people compete for admission. Upon what grounds shall we choose the successful applicants? Ability/merit? Parents’ donations? Skin colour? Residence in rural or urban area? Where does this stop – with eye colour, religion, voting history or what? Obviously some of those criteria are hyperbolic (although you might consider to what extent some of them duplicate the Nuremberg Laws). But I assume we must implement ‘fairness’ in some form or degree. Shall fairness include historic injustice, geographical difficulties, or projected utopian goals? One can make a case for all of the above, but I don’t see it standing up to a court challenge when a hard-working student has worn his fingers to the bone doing what is needed to get in turns out to be refused because someone who has not done that work is preferred simply for skin/eye colour/residence/politics etc etc. We cannot place the burden of cost on innocent youth for the sins of their forefathers. It would be rather Old Testament to suggest we can and should, don’t you think?

          1. If we are talking about private colleges, admission procedures are not set up to provide a fair competition, or indeed any sort of “competition”. Those formulating admission policies have in mind various ways in which students interact with each other and with faculty members. This is not at all a matter of fixing what the “costs” will be to innocent youth. The applicants bring their talents and backgrounds, and those formulating policies consider in different ways how the talents and backgrounds of the different applicants might make possible all kinds of intellectual and personal development, including for example such things as the way the future students may respond to something like the pacifist tradition of some colleges. There is no such thing as doing what is set up as “what you need to do to get in”, so a student might properly have a grievance if he or she did those things and didn’t get in. Admissions officers take for granted that a great many more wonderfully qualified applicants will apply than can be admitted. While some ways of treating applicants would certainly be unfair, there are many different ways that are not unfair that would involve turning some wonderful candidates down. And choosing to include candidates from different parts of the country is by no means an introduction of unfairness. Why should the understanding of what an education is not involve learning what people unlike oneself are like? It may indeed have been part of what the founders of the college had hoped to do.

  6. Concerning insomnia, I’ve had similar issues as PCC for years and found extended-release Ambien (zolpidem) to be pretty good and more effective than the regular stuff.

    1. Indeed. I also got a kick out of Schumer’s euphemism “effing”. If I were caught in such a tense situation, I’d be swearing like a sailor.

      1. Yeah, I caught the “effing” as well. I love that Nancy said she’d like to punch Trump in the face if he’d come to the Capitol.🤓 Would have been a great sight to behold.

        1. As far as I could see from my browsing of Fox News, it seems that Pelosi’s offering to punch Trump in the face was the only part of the Jan. 6 hearing that Fox covered, or at least headlined.

  7. > He looks at dozens of such “hate” incidents and finds that a startlingly high percentage are hoaxes. […] when a “crime” is found to be a hoax, it should be publicly announced.

    Two further points: not all “hate incidents” are actual crimes. There are jurisdictions where uttering a slur is NOT a crime, and hence not a hate crime. Hell, quite a few of them do not involve emotional hatred or emotional fear (‘-phobia’), either. People seem to be labelling all uses of slurs as hate crimes, even where an incident might not involve hatred or be a crime.

  8. Tweets from Matthew: How could the driver not see those mines? It looks like at least one person survived

    If he was driving with the hatch closed, he had very limited vision. Probably all he had was a periscope with a restricted field of view. I’m not at all surprised he couldn’t see the mines.

    1. The left hatch is open. The mere presence of whatever flying object was taking the video may have spooked the driver into taking chances, expecting some form of smiting from above if he stopped to probe the road and remove the mines. It looks to me as if he tried to put his right track into the tempting gap between the right-side mines, and then, misjudging his width, ran his left track over another mine, which might have been buried although the road appears to be hard-surfaced. These mines can be detonated magnetically without direct contact. The left track is severed and blown off the wheels, suggesting the explosion occurred under the MT-LB’s left side.

      Yet another smoking Z.

  9. 30 years ago, Thomas Sowell wrote a definitive assessment of positive discrimination programs at: . Two features, obvious even then, are worth noting:

    ” 1. Preferential programs, even when explicitly and repeatedly defined as “temporary,” have tended not only to persist but also to expand in scope, either embracing more groups or spreading to wider realms for the same groups, or both. Even preferential programs established with legally mandated cut-off dates, as in India and Pakistan, have continued far past those dates by subsequent extensions.
    2. Within the groups designated by government as recipients of preferential treatment, the benefits have usually gone disproportionately to those members already more fortunate.”

  10. “The protesters chanted antigovernment slogans and threw rocks at the officers, prompting the security forces to fire indiscriminately into the crowd . . . .”

    I have a certain perception of Iranian police officers – no doubt uninformed and vague – however objective or subjective, as compared to that of the protesters. Be that as it may, would it not be advisable and prudent to adhere to some kind of Precautionary Principle and discipline oneself to not throw rocks at the police? Or can they not help themselves?

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