It’s been a thousand minutes (give or take a year) since our last post, but we were recently contacted by a reader and thought we would get back on the horse. Just in time! Ballots are pouring in. The current Public Forum debate topic is about instituting universal background checks, and one common argument on the negative is that background checks are racist: they are enforced by a racist criminal justice system, and perhaps more to the point draw their data from that system. Here is a ballot that almost voted for this argument…
Here are some of the comments transcribed:
“the racist argument is clever but doesn’t hold up because of the reasons stated by pro…”
“you almost let them get by with faulty racism argument…”
“PS – I am a BIG OBAMA supporter and voted for Hillary – so I was ready to believe the racism argument, but con mitigated their own contention”
Okay, so this judge managed to not-so-slyly shade the argument about racism in three ways. First, the judge outright called the argument “faulty” in their comment to the affirmative team, which would undermine the judge praising the argument as “clever” if “clever” wasn’t already the shadiest way to praise an argument. The argument that the criminal justice system is racist and would disproportionately deny guns to black people is not “clever”; it is a fact. So, um, second, “clever” is shady.
Third, and let’s really process this, I AM A BIG OBAMA SUPPORTER GET IT I CAN’T BE RACIST. This is, ironically, tellingly racist in a few ways. First, it belies the judge’s anxiety about their decision. If they felt good about voting against this argument, there would be no need for an apology/justification like this. Second, deflecting your racism by claiming to be an Obama supporter is like saying “I can’t be racist, I have a black friend”, except instead of even actually having a black friend, you think you just can’t be racist because you saw a black person on television once. Third, voting for Hillary is not an indicator of anti-racist credentials. Fourth, voting for anyone is not an indicator of anti-racist credentials. Fifth, whoa this judge actually wrote that on a ballot. Sixth, white people shouldn’t try to establish their anti-racist credentials; it’s not a good look. Instead, they should focus on working to minimize their racist impact on the world and supporting anti-racist efforts when possible.
Judges: don’t justify your bad decisions; make better decisions.