Sunday, March 06, 2016

Sneaker Circuses



By Reader-Researcher A.L. and Nicholas Stix

From a friend of my mine responding to the young negroes killing one another, or rioting over sneakers.

“Those young people doing all the bad stuff were not even alive when Jordan played.”

Very good point.

N.S.: Some of them may have been alive, but were too young to have seen Jordan play, or to remember seeing him play.

During the early 1990s, Sharon Gless starred in a short-lived series called, The Trials of Rosie O’Neill, about a middle-aged lefty white lady who gives up her successful law practice, to become a Legal Aid lawyer.

The show was bad. Its redeeming features were Gless, who was a gifted actress, and the writing and performing of the character Hank Mitchell (Dorian Harewood), a fellow attorney, and Rosie’s neighbor. Hank was an unregenerate black racist. His character was repulsive, and Rosie’s every attempt to have a conversation with him resulted in nothing but race-baiting from him, but the writers didn’t try to humanize him by giving him a history of suffering from “racism,” to rationalize his bone-deep hatred. In other words, he was a rare realistic, black character.

In one episode, Rosie defended a teenaged black murderer. He had killed another teenager for the latter’s basketball sneakers. In Rosie’s defense of the stone-killer, she left no doubt as to Gless and her husband-producer Barney Rosenzweig’s socialism/communism. Rosie asserted that “society” was to blame for the murder, for causing the killer to so want material possessions that he would murder for them. Thus, the killer had no agency. He was a robot or zombie.

When someone blames “society” for what an individual does, he’s being dishonest. There’s no such thing as “society.” “Society” is everyone and no one.

Mind you, I’m not saying that there are only atomized individuals. There are individuals, couples, families, extended families, broken families, and institutions of many sorts and sizes. There are individual parish churches, denominations, faiths; there are local, county, regional, state and federal elected officials, courts, law enforcement, criminal justice, and welfare agencies. There are public and private schools and colleges. You get the picture. But the line “it’s society’s fault” was a giveaway that the speaker was a socialist or communist.

Another aspect of that defense, which I used to hear all the time, just occurred to me. I think when someone says, “It’s society’s fault,” “society” is a racist code phrase for “white people.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how far back the attitude of "society made me do it" goes. The famous/infamous attorney Darrow used such a defense for his obviously guilty clients. He did not even suggest they were innocent. ONLY that they had pressures from "society" that caused them to be bad.