Thursday, August 17, 2006

Glass Houses, Unnecessary Stones

Posted by codemorse

Tramm Hudson, Republican candidate for congress, made the remark recently that blacks aren't good swimmers. This sent liberal commentator Oliver Willis into a tizzy (note the name of the author in the above link).

And at first blush, sure. I can see how, being black, Willis would take offense at what appears to be a broad over-generalization.

Except that blacks apparently aren't good swimmers. There are studies to show that young black males are five to twelve times more likely to drown than young white males.

This doesn't mean that blacks can't swim. It means that, as a whole, they're currently less adapt at it. Which, to me, suggests that young black children aren't being taught to swim, not that they're physically incapable of doing so.

All of this is to say that just because something potentially-controversial comes out of a white Republican's mouth does not mean that it's racist. If you watch the actual video of Hudson, you'll see that he's speaking in the context of his own experience and his personal viewing of black soldiers attempting to river-cross for the military. He's both calm and seemingly aware of the possible "racist" interpretation of his remarks. So he clarifies them.

Hardly the stuff of a racist diatribe.

Instead of making wrongful assumptions about a man's character, perhaps Willis should concentrate his energies elsewhere? He's passionate, smart, and often thought-provoking. But much of the time he engages in the same half-assed reportage that he faults his opponents for.


At 9:52 PM, Blogger Repack Rider said...

Ever see the surfing movie, "Endless Summer?" There are scenes shot on the coast of Africa, and the white California surfers are joined in the surf by dozens of locals of every age from little kids on up, who do not seem to have any problem in the water.

This guy is beyond dumb, he is agressively dumb.

At 9:23 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

I haven't, but I hear it's pretty amazing.

Respectfully, I think taking a movie's depiction of surfing in the 70's and making it evidence of Hudson's idiocy is kind of a stretch.

If this swimming thing were something without empirical evidence backing it up, I'd agree with you. But in America, apparently there's a discrepancy between white kids and black kids. Check out the links.

Is it racist to point that out?

Is pointing out that black children aren't schooled nearly as intensively as white children a racist statement?

If saying so implies that, as a whole, black children are undereducated compared to white children, is that racist?

At what point do we stop playing the race card and examine the actual issues at hand?

If I'm relying on faulty data, then I apologize. If Hudson is a known racist, I apologize. But it seems to me that this instance isn't as simple as "Hudson's a racist!"

At 9:30 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

*Additionally, It seems self-evident that Hudson is referring to black Americans, not blacks worldwide.

At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Hattie said...

But why make remarks like that? Is it in retaliation for saying that white men can't jump?

At 7:02 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Well, you make a remark like that when black soldiers evidently have difficulty river-crossing during training.

It seems not dissimilar to saying "Well, growing up in New York City, and from personal experience, black people don't have the same level of education as white people. I noticed this while doing math problems with them."

If that's racist, then I'd humbly suggest that our definition of racism has gotten far out of hand.


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