Reprehensible, Maybe…

Background Reading

Summary

The folks on ChainLink are at it again. Liberals are all about being able to have their cake and eat it too. So when a bike theft is described the Original Poster (OP) decides to include their supposed racial and ethnic information. The discussion during the thread went like this:

Bike Thieves Caught!
Posted by jolondon30 on April 29, 2013 at 2:30pm

Just got back from the lakefront. Biked to Wilson and the path, ran 4 miles and was coming back and found an unmarked poice car, a patrol wagon, and six guys against the car. My front wheel was off but I was able to put it back on. Not quick release btw.

Turns out these guys had stolen a seat and tire from somebody’s bike in front of Chava coffee (Leland/Wilson) right while the owner was in there She saw them, gave chase, called the cops, and the cops found the guys at the lakefront. They brought the owner by and kept her in the cop car to ID them.

Her wheel was on one of their beater bikes and they were carrying her seat. So what they do is smart..they bike around and find hiqh quality bikes and then swap out the wheels to use on their beater bikes until they sell the wheel. They were on mountain bikes so it looked strange with a fat mountain tire bike on the back and a road tire on the front (nice Shimano!). My guess they would have swapped the seats too if they had the time. Mine is a hybrid with a comfort seat which they may not have been interested in.

The cops searched them and found an Allen wrench and several small knives. They said they couldn’t charge them for my wheel theft because they didn’t see them steal my tire (the boys said my tire was just sitting there!). My bike frame on a kryptonite and the locked tire were untouched. I lock the back tire because I have enclosed gears that would be stolen if the rear tire was taken.

The cops kept saying that because they were juvies they will just get a slap on the wrist.

I have been running by the lake for 10 years….never a problem with my bike though I never leave it in the middle of a weekday. Now I see I’ll need to lock my second tire everywhere. At my health club in Andersonville – LSAC – nobody locks both tires – but I’m going to start doing it.

I’ve always wondered who steals things like tires and seats. These guys were obviously organized…with an Allen wrench and on bikes. Shocked there were six of them. They were truly diverse…Hispanic, black, and South Asian from their looks. Looked about 17. None large or looked strong…would definitely have challenged them if I arrived while they were in the act.

The punk who had the Allen wrench and a knife was named Leonardo Chardo. They cuffed him and one other guy.

And no, I don’t care if he is only 17; he is still a thief. I told them all they were thieves and that felt good. They seemed really humiliated up against the squad car..at least there for 25 minutes while I was there. Cops did a very nice job..thought didn’t seem interested in seeing us going to court. I thanked them profusely.

So now even when I run or go out to the store I need to carry a second lock. What a pain!

The responses to the OP went like this:

Reply by John C. Wilson yesterday
IANAL nor do I do impersonations. Naming a minor and calling him out makes me queasy. Someone else can tell you if that’s actionable but why go near there when there’s no need. The ethnic characterizations above are reprehensible. Two wrongs (three wrongs) do not make a right. This post should be pulled.

Reply by h’ 1.0 yesterday
Posting a name may be a little over the top, but I don’t see anything particularly racist about the description.
I think you may have come to the wrong site if you’re looking to get your post pulled.

Reply by jolondon30 yesterday
First there are no characterizations of an ethnicity. I describe them as a “diverse” group and then identify what appears to be their ethnicity. It is not suggested or implied – in any way – that bike thievery is associated with any ethnicity/group. Intended to be an observation…I dont’ see a lot of multiracial “gangs” in uptown so I thought it was worth pointing it out.
Second, I agree that writing his name was a bit much. Obviously I was and am still angry and as the cops wouldn’t arrest him – or at least discouraged me from pursuing this was my way of venting. FWIW I saw them take the Allen wrench and a sizeable knife out of his pocket (he gave his name to the cop shortly after).

Reply by Gabe yesterday
Hey John C. What was done above was a term called “Description”. You see that’s the only way other people know what other people look like in written form. If they had been 3 white guys or 3 black guys or in this case the United Colors of Beneton it would still just be description. And as for Leonardo Chardo I’m hoping he has a record. Cause while the kids “looked embarrassed” while leaning up against the cop cars. That is usually an act. If they know what to do they are complacent as puppies while the Police are there and they turn into the garbage they are when they are free.

Now you have to make allowances for someone like Gabe. He thinks that calling the South and West Sides of Chicago, “shitholes” is perfectly fine. The fact that such terms are “loaded” is perhaps really beyond his understanding but there you have it. Liberals want to be free to use terms that Conservatives would be scolded for using and will dare you to classify the nature of their attitudes.

Race is Not A Description

Adolf Hitler, pictured in 1930, is believed to have first documented his anti-Semitic beliefs in the Gemlich letter, written in 1919 - Getty Images

Adolf Hitler, pictured in 1930, is believed to have first documented his anti-Semitic beliefs in the Gemlich letter, written in 1919 – Getty Images

For the record anything that is a true “description” is something that is measurable. That is why we use things like height, weight, hair color, gender and texture, tattoos, missing digits, scars and the like to describe a person. Furthermore we use DNA and fingerprints to more precisely “describe” a person.

Race is an artificial social construct. And it is not very accurate when describing a person. In this country for years we took the trouble to plot the lineage of a person to determine if they had any ancestors who might be descendants of Africans. In many states we defined Negroes and anyone have a single drop of African blood. Why?

We did this because many folks with black blood could easily pass for white and in fact did. It was afterwards when children starting showing up with genetic traits that made people wonder that things got ugly. When you describe someone as being Asian or Hispanic or African-American or even Caucasian you are using a judgment to make that call. Without a ancestral tree graph you really have no way of knowing.

What we do know about race however is that the term is never, ever neutral in value. It is never, ever just a “description“. This is why calling a section of the City of Chicago a “shithole” is more a judgment than a “description“. And it characterizes all the people who live in those areas because whether you mean to or not, the judgment that a place is unfit to live in implies something about the people who live there. It is their very presence which makes a “shithole” a “shithole“.

This is a delicate nuance that very few of the ChainLink crowd will get, but there it is.

Hitler Would Be Proud

When Nazis tried to justify their treatment of various groups in German society they loved to talk race. Aryans were at the top of the pecking order and Jews, Homosexuals and Gypsies were at or near the bottom. The term for “shitholes” back then was “ghetto“. Jews were confined to them and it was believed that exterminating the kind of people who occupied such places was an act of civic benefit to the rest of polite society.

What we Liberals do so very often in bandying about the terms we do would make the Fuhrer feel right at home. Sometimes it takes a person with a bit more savvy to explain why young thieves get the lenient treatment they do despite being of racial and ethnic backgrounds of which we disapprove:

Reply by Daniel G yesterday
Bike theft is as damaging to the community as it is utterly annoying, but minors are treated with kid gloves for good reason; because they are kids. And kids get to test-ride for free for a few years before they get full rights and responsibility (whether they want them or not).

They are indeed Thieves if the judge finds them so. But that state may pass, so it is not their primary designation, just as they will only remain “juveniles” for another year at most. The assumption is widespread that criminality is genetic or something, and that it is like an incurable virus rendering its hosts “garbage”. And it’s an assumption that is no less toxic to society than casual profiling, because it contributes to policies that mark people with a red X forever, an indisputably self-fulfilling prophecy which creates a permanent class of criminals from which there is little hope of escape.

Second chances have an explicit social purpose; to avoid treating one-time fuck-ups like their careerist counterparts. People (especially young people) move to fulfill expectations placed upon them. And if you don’t offer people chances to get back in society’s good graces and become good again, how are they going to ever be anything but bad? Confession/redemption is the foundation of Catholicism for a reason. Once people become convinced that they are forever bad, they may as well enjoy it.

Cyclists should be ultra-sensitive to their being lumped into a category that provides for little or no distinction between them. Some of the riders who inhabit the ChainLink decry being lumped with scofflaw cyclists. But frankly this is a practice that comes easily to most of us because we are being ‘lazy” when we lump people together.

Trying to describe in the technical sense of that term who or what a person is doing is a lot less satisfying than to call them cagers, or hipsters or niggers or woos, jews or rag heads. These terms are what we come up with to convey some sense of the description of the person along with our prejudices. And to the extent that our listener feels a resonance with our characterization they will nod assent and we will become friends.

And more often than I care to admit, Hitler would be proud of what we have created within the ChainLink Forum community.