Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘minorities’

Keeping Israel in perspective

Posted by sanityinjection on January 21, 2009

With the Gaza violence finally coming to an end, at least for the time being, Israel’s public image is not in great shape. Even those who understand Israel’s need to defend themselves against Hamas rocket attacks cannot help but be dismayed by the level of devastation in Gaza, much of it suffered by ordinary Palestinians who may or may not have anything to do with Hamas.

You can bet that we will be hearing with renewed fervor the drumbeat of those who call Israel a racist state that persecutes Arabs and violates their human rights. With this in mind, I offer for consideration the recent decision by the Israeli Supreme Court allowing Arab parties to stand in Israel’s upcoming elections.

The Israeli election authority had moved to ban Israeli Arab parties from taking part in the elections. These are Arab politicians who live in and are citizens of Israel proper, not the West Bank or Gaza. The Israeli parliament has long had a handful of Arab legislators.

The reason for the ban was that the Arab parties, which openly sympathize with the Palestinians, had supported terrorism by traveling to Arab nations such as Lebanon and meeting with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. The ban was only on the parties themselves, and not on any individual politicians. However, the Israeli Supreme Court overturned the ban by a unanimous vote.

What is the significance of this? Just that if you are an Arab living in Israel, while you may face social discrimination from the Jewish majority, your freedom of speech and due process rights are protected under Israeli law. You have the right to vote and to run for office.

In the vast majority of Arab countries, on the other hand, even Arabs do not enjoy these rights. In no country do they enjoy all of them. And God help you if you’re a non-Arab, or a non-Muslim in say, Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

In short, if we are going to talk about human rights in the Middle East, Israel is not immune from criticism, but it is hardly the place any rational person would single out as their primary target. Israel treats even its minorities better than Arab countries treat their own people.

Posted in Foreign Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Racial diversity at the conventions – The real scoop

Posted by sanityinjection on September 4, 2008

I’m getting really irritated by a handful of articles about how lily-white the GOP convention (and by extension, the Republican Party) is. It’s no secret, and hardly news, that the Democratic Party has a much higher percentage of racial minorities than the Republicans do. And we could discuss the various reasons for that. However, what’s disturbing about these pieces is the extent to which the writers deliberately overlook any mitigating factors that might weaken the point. (If an argument requires you to avoid facts, it’s probably not a very good argument.)

Thus, it falls to me to present two points regarding racial diversity at the conventions which you won’t hear from the mainstream media:

Point One: The media have made a big deal out of the fact that you see a lot more black, Hispanic, and Asian faces in the crowd at the DNC than you do at the RNC. And that’s quite true. However, none of these so-called journalists care enough about the truth to remind you that the Democrats have quotas for their state delegations. In other words, Democrats aren’t electing more minorities as convention delegates because they freely choose to do so. They are forced to do so by party rules which specify that a certain percentage of delegates must be women, blacks, Hispanics, etc. The Democratic party, at its core, does not trust its members to actually demonstrate the “commitment to diversity” they like ot talk so much about. So they stage-manage the process to ensure that they have enough smiling black, brown, and yellow faces in the crowd to prove to the media how diverse they are. Now, one could reasonably argue that Democrats would still elect a more diverse delegation than Republicans without the quota. In which case, one is compelled to ask: Why have them? The answer is that they mirror the quotas the Democrats would impose in all aspects of our lives, beginning with our schools and offices. Again, find me one member of the mainstream media who has mentioned this, even though they all know it. I guess it would be too inconvenient to share this truth with the masses.

Point Two: The media has criticized the Republicans for not having minority speakers in prime-time slots. Again, the accusation is true. Republicans simply do not have enough minorities elected to higher office, so their big names tend to be white males. However, note the hypocrisy: Last night the GOP convention devoted an entire hour to speeches by ordinary folks who happen to be minorities – black, Hispanic, Asian. I saw those speeches on C-SPAN, which broadcasts the conventions gavel to gavel with no commentary. However, if you were watching CNN, you would not have seen or heard these speeches, because the network deliberately refused to show them. Instead, their reporter was interviewing the youngest delegate to the convention, a 17-year old blond white boy with a crew cut who even I thought looked like the poster boy for the Hitler Youth.  Later on, switching back and forth between the two networks, I noticed C-SPAN had a lot of camera shots showing ordinary delegates, many white but also showing black faces and Pacific island delegations. On CNN, though, the only delegates whose faces were shown were white, and most of the time they focused on Cindy McCain or other superdelegates.

Question: If the GOP is so bereft of minorities, why is CNN afraid to let voters see the ones that are there?

Again, I’m not trying to pretend that the GOP doesn’t have to do a better job of reaching out to minorities. I’m just trying to illustrate the appalling way in which the media doesn’t trust you to figure these things out yourself, but deliberately manipulates what you see and hear to make *sure* you draw the “correct” conclusions.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »