Futility of “Colorblindness”: David Clarke and the Absurdity of Using Black Skin as Cover for the “American Way”

David Clarke, a sheriff for Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, wrote an inflammatory op-ed for the Hill newspaper. In the column, Clarke attempts the impossible to–

  • offload police responsibility for killings of citizens (black, brown, and white) onto the group Black Lives Matter (BLM);
  • ignore the suffering of the deceased’s families, friends, and communities; and
  • discredit and condemn BLM (and Occupy Wall Street) as responsible for the war veterans that preyed upon police officers in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
david clarke and spouse
David Clarke, Sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisc., and spouse

In short, the column was a masterpiece of deflection of the broken image of police officers–“Officer Friendly“; the social media video of the killings of Alton Sterling and the aftermath video of the shooting of Philando Castile (and the many instances of killings before them) put an end to that image for good. Image-conscious people do not like to be unmasked, and thus the response will be fierce.

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Most disturbing of all was Clarke’s attempt to deflect criticism by using his black skin color as cover for his apology for white supremacy and white superiority. It is the reason why white supremacists use Clarke and Larry Elder to continue the abuse of black people–to state it’s not white people doing it but a black (white) person. It’s quite unseemly and perverse for people who say they are black to turn around and attack black people (while simultaneously asking for exemption from the debasement that they argue for others). I have no respect for abusive and hate-filled people like Clarke and Elder.

The essence of the column is that the so-called American way is the status quo, including white supremacy, absolute respect for authority figures, and police killings of unarmed people. People who question this status quo are threats that must be quashed. The column is quite irresponsible for a law enforcement official to make, as it encourages ignoring the First Amendment of the Constitution, accepts white supremacy (and black exclusion) as a legitimate part of the culture of the United States, and encourages authoritarianism. All three are unacceptable.

Virginia Slave Law, 1705

Part of the solution is clear:  The police departments must remove predatory police officers from their ranks immediately. For background information, read Babiak, Paul and Robert D. Hare (2006). “Snakes in Suits:  When Psychopaths Go to Work.”

Futility of “Colorblindness”: Red Cross Poster Associated Negative Connotations to Nonwhite Characters; Mere “Apology” Insufficient

The Washington Post reported on the following story. A user of a pool looked at an American Red Cross poster and felt uncomfortable because the characters that displayed the so-called uncool pool behaviors were generally nonwhite. The posters were created by the American Red Cross and distributed. Seemingly, throughout the process, no one noticed this particular issue.

American Red Cross former pool safety poster; photo of poster taken by Margaret Sawyer

The response from the Red Cross was unsurprising, denying racial “intent” and promising to correct the situation. However, the situation is not overt discrimination but the formation of mental negative connotations and then representing those negative ideas with nonwhite characters or people.

A quote from Reverend Thomas Merton’s book, “Seeds of Destruction” (Letters to a White Liberal), page 19-20, demonstrates the weakness of reliance on claims of lack of “intent”:

We have been willing to grant the Negro rights on paper, even in the South. But the laws have been framed in such a way that in every case their execution has depended on the good will of white society, and the white man has not failed, when left to himself, to block, obstruct, or simply forget the necessary action without which the rights of the Negro cannot be enjoyed in fact. Hence, when laws have been passed, then contested, dragged through all of the courts, and finally upheld, the Negro is still in no position to benefit by them without, in each case, entering into further interminable lawsuits every time he wants to exercise a right guaranteed to him by law.

(Note: Emphasis, above (in bold), the blog author’s.)

A mere “apology” is insufficient to address this issue. The negative associations in the poster (and elsewhere in the culture of the United States) will have to be unearthed, raised to the sunlight, examined, and dealt with totally. As seen with Antonin Scalia (1936-2016), the United States’ cultural practices need much attention and correction in order to be truly inclusive of all people.

The work of Jane Elliott is a good start to begin the inquiry.





Futility of “Colorblindness” and Fareed Zakaria: In His Program “Why They Hate Us?” Zakaria Defends Muslims at the Expense of Black People; Zakaria, Thus, Is a Dangerous Hypocrite

I distrust percentages stated alone, especially those drawn from the malleable area of statistics, unless those percentages are surrounded by the raw numeric data from which they are derived. The abstract nature of percentages by themselves without solid context leads to problems.

Such problems are magnified when they involve racial issues in the United States. The acceptability of ruining black people for just being black has long been present in the culture of the United States of America. So, the sloppiness of Fareed Zakaria’s reporting in this area cannot be accepted. In defending his Muslim people, he casually and brutally attacked black people, a practice that is well established in the practice of white supremacy.

Only in his case, Zakaria delivered the punch and then cynically tried to apply a soothing balm of explanation that one cannot rabidly hate the entire group of which he accused 50% of the members of being murderers. This is simply beneath dignity, and I cannot accept Zakaria’s work as being valid ever again.

Here is Zakaria’s quotation from his program “Why They Hate Us?”:

But here’s another way to think about this. In America, African-Americans make up about 13% of the population, yet they comprise about 50% of homicide offenders, according to a Justice Department study. Now we understand — I hope we understand — that when we see a black man on the street, we cannot and must not treat him as a likely criminal. It would be dehumanizing, unfair and racist. In America, of all places, people should be treated as individuals and not as stereotypes from a racial, ethnic or religious group. And remember, the Bangladeshi cabdriver who drives you to the airport has nothing, nothing to do with ISIS, even though he is also a Muslim.


United States (population: 308,745,538) (2010 Census)

Race Percentage of population Number
White 72.4% 223,553,265
Black 12.6 38,929,319
Native American 0.7 540,013
Asian 4.8 14,674,252

The issue I have is the casual implication that Zakaria presents as fact and then attempts to explain and defend–in so many words, even though I implied that 19 million black people commit murder, you the viewer cannot therefore hate all black people. This quotation is simply sloppy reporting, factually incorrect, cowardly, and categorically unacceptable.

For an example, here are the number for murders in 2013 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Race, Ethnicity, and Sex of Victim by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex of Offender, 2013
[Single victim/single offender]
Race of victim      Total Race of offender Sex of offender Ethnicity of offender1
White Black or



Other1 Unknown Male Female Unknown Hispanic

or Latino



or Latino

White 3,005 2,509 409 49 38 2,661 306 38 532 945 1,528
Black or African American 2,491 189 2,245 20 37 2,217 237 37 76 807 1,608
Other race2 159 32 27 96 4 142 13 4 10 63 86
Unknown race 68 25 17 3 23 38 7 23 3 14 51

The truth is only a minuscule subset of the total black population commit homicide (2,491/38,929,319=0.0001 ). Whites commit homicide also (something that Zakaria does not even state for context–the number is similarly small based on population); moreover, when Dylann Roof killed (note: as of the date of this post, Roof is still awaiting trial) 9 people in Charleston, South Carolina, no one painted the entire white population of the United States as a homicidal, bloodthirsty group of people.

Zakaria’s failure in the midst of defending his own people from broad-brush attacks has not gone unnoticed; I am extremely disappointed in his sloppy work product in failing to carefully craft every element of his reporting. He has recklessly left black people exposed to further unfair discrimination; it is disgustingly unacceptable.

Federal Reserve Board: Democratic Members of Congress Write Letter to Board–Lack of Diversity Adversely Affects Policymaking

This blog has covered several posts about the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board), specifically about its unjust and myopic policymaking as well as its mistreatment of African American employees. The topic of this post is a recent Congressional letter to the Board (May 12, 2016).

Some Democratic Members of Congress–Senators and Representatives– wrote to the Chair of the Board, Janet Yellen, to inform Yellen and the Board of their concerns. Chief among them is the concern that the lack of diversity ill affects policymaking of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The congressional letter writers noted that the membership of the FOMC is 100% white.

A former member of the FOMC, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Narayana Kocherlakota, stated the following observation in his blog–that the effect of race on economic policy was never discussed–particularly the high rate of unemployment among African Americans.

“Reflecting on his experience on the FOMC in a recent blog post, former Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Narayana Kocherlakota wrote: “There is one key source of economic difference in American life that is likely underemphasized in FOMC deliberations: race.”6   He reviewed the most recent full year of FOMC meeting transcripts available (2010), and found that “there was no reference in the meetings to labor market conditions among African-Americans,” although the unemployment rate for African-Americans never dropped below 15.5 percent during that year.7 It is unacceptable that discussion of the job market for these populations would be an afterthought, or worse, ignored entirely, and we are concerned that the lack of balanced representation may be a significant cause of this oversight.”

6 Narayana Kocherlakota , “MLK Day Reflection s on the FOMC,” (blog post) Narayna Kocherlakota’s Website, January 18, 2016, https://sites.google.com/site/kocherlakota009/home/policy/thoughts-on-policy/1-18-16.

7 Id.

I now summarize the remainder of the congressional letter writers concerns–

  • The Board’s failure to ensure its leadership reflects the composition of the nation, including occupational diversity.
  • When the Board reappointed the presidents of the Federal Reserve Banks, it was done without public consultation and limited transparency regarding the metrics and criteria used to evaluate the presidents’ performance or the decision to reappoint them.
  • The letter writers also request that the FOMC consider the interests and priorities of those who have not benefitted from the economic recovery. [Author’s note: It should be mentioned that Congress can act to address concerns about unemployment through fiscal policy.]

Federal Reserve Board: D.C. Circuit Affirmed Dismissal of Employment Discrimination Case, Artis v. (Greenspan) (Bernanke) Yellen

On April 1, 2016, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals issued a mandate of its December 21, 2015, order, which summarily affirmed the dismissal of the appellants’ appeal. The court determined that the record was replete with examples of appellants’ misconduct at the district court level.

The circuit judges on the panel were Brett Kavanaugh, Cornelia Pillard, and Robert Wilkins.

(Docket number 15-5260, available at www.pacer.gov).

Thus ends this shamefully long case to fight against the complainants in the initial stages of a so-called Equal Employment Opportunity counseling session.

One thing is certain, Board employees should read this case and, in case of any issue, consult legal counsel first, and be wary of the Board’s complaint mechanisms (unless there are sufficient reforms).

Eighteen years for this case to arrive at a messy and incomplete end. The whole affair scars the Board’s credibility; the Board is worthy of further Congressional oversight. In addition, the Board should never again have the latitude to put forward such lengthy, expensive litigation without approval.

Antonin Scalia: Donors Ask George Mason to Name Its Law School–from which Not One Graduate Served as His Law Clerk–for Scalia; Scalia Insulted Black People from the Dais of the Supreme Court and as a Law Professor

I will start this post with an illuminating quote from Reverend Thomas Merton’s book, “Seeds of Destruction (Letters to a White Liberal),” page 19-20:

We have been willing to grant the Negro rights on paper, even in the South. But the laws have been framed in such a way that in every case their execution has depended on the good will of white society, and the white man has not failed, when left to himself, to block, obstruct, or simply forget the necessary action without which the rights of the Negro cannot be enjoyed in fact. Hence, when laws have been passed, then contested, dragged through all of the courts, and finally upheld, the Negro is still in no position to benefit by them without, in each case, entering into further interminable lawsuits every time he wants to exercise a right guaranteed to him by law.

Conservatives seem to want to ensure a positive legacy and memory of Antonin Scalia; this is impossible. Scalia’s own behavior prevents it. The Washington Post reported that donors gave $30 million ($20 million (anonymous donor), $10 million (Charles Koch Foundation)), requesting that George Mason University (GMU) rename its law school after Scalia, who died in February 2016, Antonin Scalia School of Law (ASSoL) at George Mason University.

At American University (AU), in 2009, Scalia, a graduate of Harvard Law School, informed the law students that no one from the school could be a law clerk in his chambers.

‘By and large’, he said, ‘I’m going to be picking from the law schools that basically are the hardest to get into. They admit the best and the brightest, and they may not teach very well, but you can’t make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse. If they come in the best and the brightest, they’re probably going to leave the best and the brightest, O.K.?’

So, another institution not from the “silk purse” category of law schools, George Mason University, named their law school after him,  GMU did not have one law graduate serve as his law clerk on the Supreme Court, unsurprising given what he said to the AU law students.

Scalia engaged in attacks on the powerless. On December 9, 2015, during oral argument at the Supreme Court for Fisher v. Texas, Scalia stated the following (at pages 67-8 of the Court’s transcript):

“There are–there are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to–get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a less–a slower-track school where they do well. One of–one of the briefs pointed out that–that most of the–most of the black scientists don’t come from schools like the University of Texas.

They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re–that they’re being pushed ahead in–in classes that are too–too fast for them.

I’m just not impressed by the fact that–that the University of Texas may have fewer. Maybe it ought to have fewer. And maybe some–you know, when you take more, the number of blacks, really competent blacks admitted to lesser schools, turns out to be less. And–and I–I don’t think it–it–it stands to reason that it’s a good thing for the University of Texas to admit as many blacks as possible. I just don’t think–.”

Shortly after the death of Scalia, Gawker reported that Scalia seemed to have a pattern of giving low grades to all black students in his classes at the University of Chicago Law School and the University of Virginia Law School. This report illuminates Scalia’s comments during the Fisher oral argument.

After an undergraduate stint at Columbia, Arnim Johnson attended the elite University of Chicago Law School in the late 1970s, during Scalia’s tenure as an instructor there. In the spring trimester of his 1L year, Johnson took administrative law with Scalia, before temporarily moving to Washington, D.C. for a summer job with the government. Upon receiving his final grades for the term, Johnson was shocked to discover he’d failed the course with a flat F—practically unheard of at a top-tier school like Chicago, or any law school for that matter.


But [Phillip] Hampton also recalls an ominous remark by Scalia: “He made a statement once that he could tell—because he was such a linguist—that he could usually tell papers that were written by African Americans.” The school finally admitted that professors “had access to the [exam] blue book numbers and names,” but only so that they could award extra credit. “I said that’s bullshit,” Hampton remembered.







Federal Reserve Board: H.2 Release for Week Ending March 12, 2016; Dems Request Update to 2013 GAO Study on Diversity in Financial Services Agencies and Industry

The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending March 12, 2016, is below.

H.2 Release–Actions of the Board, Its Staff, and the Federal Reserve Banks; Applications and Reports Received

Category Action Taken
Forms Forms — initial Board review to extend without revision the Funding and Liquidity Risk Management Guidance (FR 4198) and Recordkeeping Provisions Associated with Guidance on Leveraged Lending (FR 4203).

-Proposed, March 9, 2016


Forms — initial Board review to extend without revision the Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Disclosure Requirements Associated with Regulation NN (Reg NN).

-Proposed, March 10, 2016






Personnel Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation — appointment of Steve Spurry, Kathleen Johnson, and Joanne Wakim as assistant directors.

-Announced, March 7, 2016

Management Division — appointment of Steven A. Miranda as deputy director.

-Announced, March 9, 2016


Enforcement American Bank of Baxter Springs, Baxter Springs, Kansas — written agreement dated January 5, 2010, terminated March 4, 2016.

-Announced, March 8, 2016


CB Financial Corporation, Wilson, North Carolina — written agreement dated May 25, 2010, terminated March 3, 2016.

-Announced, March 8, 2016


Hazard Bancorp, Hazard, Kentucky, and Peoples Bank and Trust Company of Hazard — written agreement with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions.

-Announced, March 8, 2016




Congressional Democrats Request Update to General Accountability Office’s 2013 Report on Diversity within the Financial Services Industry and Related Federal Agencies

On March 15, 2016, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Ranking Member of the Investigations subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Al Green (D-Tx.) requested that the General Accountability Office update its 2013 report “Diversity Management: Trends and Practices in the Financial Services Industry and Agencies after the Recent Financial Crisis” (released on May 16, 2013).

The Democrats stated that they were concerned about the slow pace of increasing diversity in the financial sector, as such diversity will help the industry to understand better all of the communities that it serves and to ensure that all consumers are treated fairly.

See also a report from the staff of the House Financial Services Committee (discussed previously in this blog).